Last start Rosehill Guineas winner Gingernuts is the firm favourite in pre-field Australian Derby 2017 betting for the three-year-old’s staying showdown in Sydney on Saturday.
The Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards-trained Kiwi visitor was a late nominee for the $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m), connections opting to pay the entry after the galloper’s impressive debut down under.
After winning three on the trot back home including the Group 1 NZ Derby (2400m) in early March, Iffraaj gelding Gingernuts travelled to Sydney on Golden Slipper Day for the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
Contested on a Heavy (10) track, the Rosehill Guineas was Gingernut’s for the taking, the proven stayer dominating the race with a two and a quarter-length win over the Randwick Guineas winner Inference.
Gingernuts, who looks set to relish the step back up to the mile and a half, pays $3.70 to continue his winning streak and complete the Rosehill Guineas – Australian Derby double for the first time since Criterion (2014).
New Zealand-trained horses have a strong record in the ATC Derby in recent years with wins by the likes of Nom Du Jeu (2008), It’s A Dundeel (2013), Mongolian Khan (2015) and Tavago (2016).
The NZ Derby form this year was further franked last weekend when the third placegetter Jon Snow came to Sydney and won the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) by nearly three lengths over the reigning Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon.
Inference is at an all-in quote of $4.60 to bounce back and turn the tables with an Australian Derby win Team Hawkes on the weekend.
The stable last prepared an Australian Derby winner a decade ago with Fiumicino (2007), while co-trainer John Hawkes also won the race with Headturner (2006) and Octagonal (1996).
So You Think colt Inference handled the wet track for his Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (1600m) win over a mile on March 4 before his second in the Rosehill Guineas.
He is up to 2400m for the first time since his third from the outside barrier (16 of 16) behind Prized Icon in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Close third favourite for Saturday paying $6 to back-up and salute again is the Tulloch Stakes winner Jon Snow, prepared by Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman.
Baker prepared three of the four successful New Zealand winners of the Australian Derby, most recently with Mongolian Khan (2015).
Impressive as the win last Saturday was by Jon Snow, history is against the colt winning the ATC Derby on the quick back-up with the last to do so off a Tulloch Stakes lead-up was Starcraft (2004).
Rounding out the single-figure ATC Derby hopes ahead of the final acceptances closing on Tuesday morning is Anaheim ($8) prepared by last year’s winning trainer Trent Busuttin.
Busuttin now trains out of Cranbourne in partnership with Natalie Young and his Fastnet Rock colt Anaheim is out to improve on a last start Rosehill Guineas fourth.
Check out the latest Australian Derby 2017 odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au before markets firm with the release of the final field at 8:00am (AEDT) on Tuesday morning.