Favourite to take out Saturday’s ATC Derby 2016 at Royal Randwick, the Mick Price-trained Tarzino proved his fitness with a pleasing gallop at the Kensington track on Tuesday morning.
A final field of 13 three-year-olds face off in this year’s $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m), the clear favourite in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au being the reigning Victoria Derby winner Tarzino.
The Tavistock colt was last seen winning the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) by nearly two lengths on March 19, a race that has produced the past three Australian Derby winners including It’s A Dundeel (2013) and Criterion (2014) who completed the double.
The Rosehill Guineas form held last weekend when Anthony Cummings’ third placed Road To Rock gelding Montaigne ran a credible fourth against the old horses in the Group 1 The BMW (2500m) won by the Chris Waller-trained Preferment.
In his final serious piece of work before attempting the VRC – ATC Derby double not achieved since Dulcify (1978-79), Tarzino worked over a mile (1600m) completing his final 600m on the soft track in strong style impressing Price.
“I was very happy with him,” Price told Racenet.
“He’s come on since the Rosehill Guineas. Craig Newitt rode him in the gallop and he was happy with him as well so it’s all good for Saturday.”
Both trainer Price and jockey Newitt shoot for their first Australian Derby wins.
The last Melbourne-trained ATC Derby winner was Pat Carey’s Mornington-based Ethiopia (2012), 12 months after the Danny O’Brien-trained Shamrocker also saluted for Victoria in the classic.
The sole filly taking on the boys in this year’s Australian Derby field, which runs under capacity, is the Ciaron Maher-trained VRC Oaks winner Jameka.
She is out to become the first female Australian Derby winner since the aforementioned Shamrocker (2011) and finished third to Tarzino beaten two lengths from the outside barrier (14 of 14) in the Rosehill Guineas.
The Australian Derby 2016 barrier draw takes place later on Tuesday morning, the full field and gates to be published at Races.com.au shortly.
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