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Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is hoping to run the Victoria Derby 2016 quinella on Saturday with stablemates Swear and Inference both on track for the Flemington classic.
The $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) is the highlight of four elite levels on the card for the opening Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington Racecourse.
Wayne Hawkes’ Hall Of Fame father and fellow trainer alongside his brother Michael, John Hawkes enjoyed a win in the staying classic with Arena back in 1998.
The team now chase not only a win on Saturday, but hope to run one-two in the Victoria Derby results with their in-form duo.
“They’re both really well – they’re different types of horses,” Hawkes told Racing Victoria.
“Both their form is very, very good coming in different paths.
“They’ll meet in the Derby, and hopefully we can run one-two.
“They’ve both done well, I’m very happy with both of them, so all things are good for Saturday.”
The 2016 VRC Derby final field is out on Wednesday morning, but all-in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Inference ($8) as a better fancied shot than Swear ($11).
A beautifully bred son of So You Think, Inference has won three of his six career starts to date but is as yet untested in Group 1 class or at Flemington.
His last start produced a third to Good Standing in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Cup Day where the progressive colt was doing his best work late.
Inference is tipped to relish the step-up in distance provided in the VRC Derby and is out to join Sangster (2nd in 2011) and Polanski (1st in 2013) as the most recent Norman Robinson graduates to back-up and win the Group 1.
Swear could prove the value in Victoria Derby betting after his brave second when only a half-length off the winner Yankee Rose in Sydney’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on October 8.
Winner of the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) three back, Swear is not performed the Melbourne way of going, but the form of his last start was franked when Yankee Rose ran third to Winx in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last weekend.
The Tony Pike-trained Moonee Valley Vase winner on Cox Plate Day Sacred Elixir ($3.40) is clear favourite in the Victoria Derby odds.
In the past 15 years eight VRC Derby winners had their final lead-up in the Vase including Helenus (2002), Plastered (2004) and Efficient (2006) who all completed the double.
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