The sole filly taking on the colts and geldings in the Australian Derby 2016 this Saturday, VRC Oaks winner Jameka is adaptable enough to overcome her wide barrier draw according to her trainer Ciaron Maher.
Thirteen final acceptances were taken for this year’s $2 million Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m), Jameka the only female galloper in the mix for the three-year-olds set weights classic.
She suffered what on paper looked like an early blow drawing the second widest barrier out in gate 12 for her hoop Damien Oliver, winner of the 2002 Australian Derby aboard Don Edurado, to overcome.
Just two winners since 2000 have saluted from wider than barrier nine with No Du Jeu (14 of 16 in 2008) and Roman Emperor (16 of 16 in 2009).
The Caulfield-based Maher however remains confident his daughter of Myboycharlie has what it takes to give the boys a run for their money over the mile and a half on Saturday, and perhaps even become the first Australian Derby winning filly since Shamrocker (2011).
His confidence comes from her versatility and adaptability, her proven ability over the distance and her gun lead-up run in a race that has produced six of the past seven ATC Derby winners.
In the spring Jameka took out the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on a Heavy (9) Flemington track by over two lengths, and has steadily improved in all three of her runs this time in.
The latest was in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) where she was brave from barrier 14 of 14 to finish just two lengths off the Mick Price-trained winner Tarzino.
Tarzino ($2) won the VRC Derby during last Melbourne Cup Carnival over 2500m, and is the short-priced favourite in Australian Derby betting this weekend through Ladbrokes.com.au to score another elite level staying win.
Jameka meanwhile occupies the second line of the Australian Derby odds at $6.50.
“She led in the Oaks, she sat back in the (Australian) Guineas (when fifth on March 5 at Flemington over the mile),” Maher told AAP post-Australian Derby barrier draw.
“She went forward in the Rosehill Guineas, she was back in the Thousand Guineas and she was forward in the Vase (at Moonee Valley to win last October over 2040m).
“She’s very adaptable.
“We’ll just work out the speed map and ride her accordingly.”
Maher opted to scratch Jameka from the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday in favour of the Derby run, and hopes he has made the right decision.
“We just decided we were going to run this week, but it’s been a bit of a juggling act,” Maher said.
“You would rather do your back-up in your last run of a campaign rather than at your second-last run.
“Her work since the (Rosehill) Guineas has been super and she’s going into Saturday’s race fit and in great form.”
To get behind your Australian Derby selections at the right price on Saturday make sure you have an account open at the country’s premier betting agency, Ladbrokes.com.au!