Young Cranbourne galloper Stately Boy is out to break his maiden status at Flemington on Saturday as the rising three-year-old gears up for a spring campaign targeting the VRC Derby 2016.
Prepared by Shea Eden, the Stryker gelding debuted at Pakenham on the Synthetic track running a brave second when just a neck off the winner Savvy Belle over 1400m on July 8.
He gets a run over the same distance this weekend in Flemington’s $80,000 Murray Cox Handicap (1400m) and comes up against his last start conqueror, the Ciaron Maher-trained Smart Missile filly Savvy Belle again.
Betting at Ladbrokes.com.au on the two-years-old handicap is firmly led by So Si Bon ($3.40), Robbie Laing’s nicely-bred So You Think colt going up to the 1400m for the first time.
So Si Bon is on the quick back-up after a luckless sixth behind Sebrikka at Caulfield over 1200m last Saturday from a wide alley, and is likely to go forward from gate eight with Damien Oliver coming aboard for the weekend’s run.
“Being by So You Think, you’d think he’d be screaming out for a little bit further,” Laing told Racing Victoria.
“He seems to have pulled up really good, he’s a beautiful colt.
“I was hoping he’d draw a little bit better but I suppose at 1400m they can canter so it might be OK to race outside the leader or one-out, one-back if possible.”
Stately Boy meanwhile is only rated a $21 chance to take out the Murray Cox even though he is set to get a gun run from barrier one with the flying Dwayne Dunn booked to replace Brian Higgins in the saddle.
“Dwayne Dunn takes the ride as well so it would be really nice to see what his thoughts are after riding him,” Eden told AAP.
“If he can go there and run really well on Saturday, we’d obviously put him away for a little bit and plan that [Victoria] Derby path.”
It’s his big city debut and Eden is hopeful the horse puts in a strong showing as he starts planning a path that will lead all the way to the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) back at Flemington on October 29 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“I think he’s a really nice, progressive young horse,” he said.
“We’re certainly keen to get him out over a trip and possibly set him on a Derby campaign.
“He’s out of a mare [Royale Harmony] who ran fourth in an Oaks and he’s by Stryker who has already sired a Derby winner in New Zealand.
“He’s given the impression from day one that he was going to get over a trip.”
Stately Boy’s dam Royale Harmony ran fourth to Arapaho Miss in the 2007 Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington as a three-year-old.
As for Stryker, he sired this year’s New Zealand Derby winner Rangipo.
Eden said that he believed Stately Boy would only improve the further distance he got over and that while the 1400m wasn’t ideal this weekend, how he goes on the turf after the debut on a synthetic course would be telling.
“It would have been nice to find a mile race after his debut,” he said.
“We couldn’t get that, but it’s a really nice race at Flemington which will give him his chance on turf.
“I think he’ll be better suited on turf and the Flemington track is certainly a testing 1400.”
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