Trainer John O’Shea and jockey James McDonald both agree that Etymology will be ridden forward from his wide barrier draw in Saturday’s 2016 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
One of 18 three-year-olds in the mix for the $600,000 Group 1 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day, the Godolphin-raced Etymology is due to jump from the outside alley in the mile and a half classic.
The New Approach colt is the early Queensland Derby betting market mover at Ladbrokes.com.au backed right into $9.50 despite the alley, the odds led by Darren Weir’s Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) winner Howard Be Thy Name ($4.20).
Howard Be Thy Name has had a Brisbane lead-up since the Morphettville autumn feature when the son of Redoute’s Choice finished only a quarter-length away third in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on May 28.
The Grand Prix Stakes has produced two of the past three Queensland Derby winners with both Brambles (2012) and Hawkspur (2013) completing the double.
Hawkspur’s trainer Chris Waller is back this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival chasing the same double with his Grand Prix winner Mackintosh.
The Pins gelding also won Doomben’s Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) in mid-May and currently sits as the $4.60 second favourite in the latest Queensland Derby odds after drawing gate five.
Etymology meanwhile is other South Australian Derby graduate in the Queensland edition on Saturday, the SA Derby producing last year’s Queensland Derby winner Magicool (4th).
Fifth in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) in Sydney in early April, Etymology travelled to Melbourne on Anzac Day and ran a brave second to Cool Champ in Flemington’s Listed VRC St Leger (2800m).
Adelaide was next on the agenda and he enjoyed the drop back to 2500m when only a half-length away second to Howard Be Thy Name in the Group 1.
Unlike his last start conqueror he hasn’t had another run ahead of the Queensland Derby, but is still a livewire chance in the classic.
McDonald last rode the horse back in March when sixth to Tarzino in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
He replaces the youngster’s SA Derby hoop Ben Melham in the saddle on Straddie Day and said he will be riding him up on the pace from the gate.
“He is quite on-paced so I will ride him accordingly,” McDonald told Racing Victoria.
O’Shea, who chases his first Queensland Derby trophy and who also saddles-up Eschiele ($7.50) from gate three with local hoop Damian Browne booked for the ride, agreed that pressing forward was the way to go for McDonald and Etymology.
“He’s very fit and we know he can run a strong 2400m. The barrier’s going to be tricky but he’s capable of taking a forward position,” he said after travelling to England ahead of Holler’s Royal Ascot bid.
“The form around him is well exposed, Howard Be Thy Name had the better of him in Adelaide and has drawn well. But our horse has settled in well on the Gold Coast and if he can get some cover and be produced at the right time he’s a proven stayer and I expect him to run well.”
Stablemate Eschiele meanwhile is a better fancied chance by the bookies, and O’Shea is confident the last start Grand Prix Stakes fourth placegetter has the right form to be competitive.
“He hasn’t had any luck at all at his last two runs behind the same horse both times,” he said.
“I thought he finished off really well last time and he was very consistent in Sydney before going up north.”
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