Weir Warns Punters Off Tasmanian Derby 2016 Favourite

Melbourne Cup winning horseman Darren Weir is warning punters not to be too confident in backing his visiting colt Howard Be Thy Name who underwent a big betting plunge for tonight’s 2016 Tasmanian Derby.

Darren Weir

Darren Weir is very wary of the star local horse in Friday night’s 2016 Tasmanian Derby as he prepares to saddle-up Howard Be Thy Name at Hobart. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

One six three-year-olds face off in this season’s $100,000 Listed Schweppes Tasmanian Derby (2200m) when the set weights clash runs as Hobart Race 6 at 5:44pm (local time) on the Friday night program.

Robert Smerdon withdrew his two acceptors Spirited Character and Infinite Reign from the line-up early, leaving Weir’s last start Ballarat winner Howard Be Thy Name and star local Jerilderie Letter battling for favouritism in the Tasmanian Derby odds at

Big money rolled in this week for Redoute’s Choice colt Howard Be Thy Name who Brad Rawiller rides in the horse’s first black-type assignment.

After a string of second and third place finishes around the Victorian tracks, the up-and-comer finally broke through for a win last time out in a maiden’s race over a mile at Ballarat by two and a half lengths on January 27.

While it was a promising effort, Weir is far from confident the short $2.20 odds on offer for his runner in the Tasmanian Derby betting markets is justified.

Also now at an equal price for the win is market mover Jerilderie Letter who jumps from gate two with Anthony Darmanin retaining his association with the flying Adam Trinder-trained Bushranger gelding.

Jerilderie Letter has won five of his six starts to date and is undefeated at the track coming off wins in the Listed Tasmanian Guineas (1600m) and Listed Hobart Guineas (2100m) from last month, and Weir rates him as the one to beat.

“My horse is destined to be a stayer but realistically the Tasmanian horse looks the goods and my thinking was to give my horse a chance at the race because he has potential,” Weir told Tas Racing.

While Weir lacks confidence, Jerilderie Letter’s Spreyton-based trainer is bullish about his horse’s chances of continuing the winning streak.

“The horse has come a long way in a relatively short space of time but one thing is for certain he will go into the Derby at his peak,” Trinder said.

“When he won the Hobart Guineas last start there was improvement in him and I’m pleased to say that will be evident for everyone to see when he strolls around the mounting yard before the race.

“He presented a little bit burly in the yard last start but that won’t be the case (in the Derby).

“Jerilderie Letter’s ability to tough it out in a race or outsprint the opposition if need be makes him the complete package for a staying three-year-old race over 2200 (metres).”

The next best in betting at $6 is the Patrick Payne-trained Al Shameel coming off four straight second place efforts including crossing a length off Jerilderie Letter in the Hobart Guineas on January 24.

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