The Victoria Derby 2015 takes centre stage at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday in Melbourne and early betting on the three-year-olds’ classic has the John O’Shea-trained Shards as the market mover.
A full field of 16 is engaged for this year’s $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m), due to jump at 3:50pm (AEST) as Race 7 on a bumper 9 race program that Ladbrokes.com.au are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% markets on across the card.
Clear favourite in the latest Victoria Derby odds is the Mick Price-trained Tarzino who has eased out slightly from $2.40 to $2.50 to become just the second favourite in 10 years to salute for the punters along with Efficient (2006).
The Tavistock colt is tipped to relish the step up in distance this weekend after smashing the late sectionals to finish a fast-closing third to Jameka at Moonee Valley last Saturday in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m).
Big money is starting to role in for rival Shards however who is one of two Godolphin-raced youngsters in the race for O’Shea who chases his first win in the classic.
O’Shea is represented in this year’s Victoria Derby field and odds by Etymology ($17) who comes off a third to Crown Oaks favourite Sacred Eye in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) that has produced two of the past four Victoria Derby winners as well as Medaglia D’Oro colt Shards.
After opening at $19 for the upset, Shards has been smashed early by the punters firming into $13 with Cox Plate winning hoop Hugh Bowman taking over for James McDonald in the saddle.
The in-form McDonald is aboard the stablemate Etymology in gate nine while Shards and Bowman, still on a high after riding his first ‘Major’ winner with Winx last weekend, and Shards are drawn wider in barrier 11.
The last Victoria Derby winner to jump from barrier 11 was Benicio (2005) 10 years ago and Shards has work to do from the gate after getting a much easier run from barrier two for his second past the post in the Moonee Valley Vase seven days ago on Saturday.
Along with Tarzino in gate 10 the only other single figure hope in Victoria Derby betting is the Adam Durrant-trained Kia Ora Koutou who is steady at $8 after coming up with the race’s most successful barrier – one.
Joseph Azzopardi continues his association aboard the Perth raider who is yet to race outside of WA or in black-type let alone Group 1 company but who is undefeated from four starts including a tidy win over 2200m at the start of the month.
Also firming in his price to continue the good record of double-figure hopes in the VRC Derby is Lizard Island ($12 into $11) jumping from barrier three with Blake Shinn in the saddle.
Pat Hyland’s Cranbourne-based Sebring colt Lizard Island comes off back-to-back seconds at Caulfield firstly in the Caulfield Guineas over the mile and then the Norman Robinson Stakes.
On the drift along with the favourite are the likes of the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Listed Geelong Classic winner over 2200m on October 21 Extra Choice ($10 out to $12) who has the outside alley to overcome as he looks to join Preferment (2nd in 2014) as recent Derby winners to come out of the Geelong lead-up and Pay Up Bro ($11 out to $12).
Husson gelding Pay Up Bro is also a Geelong Classic graduate backing up in the Group 1 over 300m further having run third beaten 1.5 lengths by Extra Choice after a tough run from the outside alley (16).
He is drawn wide again for the rematch in 15, coming into 14 if the emergency runner Bullish Stock (13) fails to get a run, with gate 14 last producing a winner five years ago with the ill-fated Lion Tamer (2010).
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