Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Darren Weir is hoping his progressive colt Rockstar Rebel has done enough to make the Queensland Derby 2017 field next month after the well-bred three-year-old enjoyed a Ballarat win on Wednesday.
A son of upset 2008 Victoria Derby winner Rebel Raider, Rockstar Rebel saluted for the punters at the midweek meet scoring a three-quarter length victory in a Benchmark 70 over 2200m at his home track yesterday.
Ridden by Brad Rawiller, the short-priced favourite did his best work in the closing stages running down the older stayers in the dying metres of the race beating home Western Kingdom (2nd) and The Dominator (3rd) in a time of 2 minutes 23.14 seconds.
The galloper has now won two of his 10 career starts but is as yet untested in Group company having missed out on a run in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) as the race’s first emergency earlier in the month.
That hasn’t stopped champion Victorian trainer Weir, who subsequently won the South Australian Derby with Volatile Mix in an upset at Morphettville on May 13, setting the bar high for the young stayer this season.
Rockstar Rebel is in the mix for the $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) run at Eagle Farm Racecourse on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 10.
Weir’s stable representative Darryn Murphy told the media post-win on Wednesday that the Ballarat victory was an important step towards the Queensland Derby for the up-and-comer.
“He [Brad Rawiller] gave himself a bit of room and that was the impressive part because he didn’t try to box seat or sit too close, he was patient and the run came for him,” Murphy said.
“It was great for the horse to win this race, he’ll get a little bit of confidence with the Queensland Derby the aim going forward.
“He’ll come on from that.”
Rawiller rode the Peter Moody-trained Brambles to victory in the 2012 Queensland Derby and rated Rockstar Rebel as a genuine hope looking ahead to the mile and a half Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival feature this season.
“It was good to see him go through the line like he did,” Rawiller said on Wednesday.
“Darren was very confident that he’d run well if he got into the Adelaide [SA] Derby and it’s shown with the way he’s come on from that last run to today.
“With this win behind him he can hopefully go onto the Queensland Derby and I’m sure he’ll be competitive in the race.”
The traditional Queensland Derby lead-up runs at the Eagle Farm track this weekend with a host of smart three-year-olds facing off in the $150,000 Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) including the Kiwi-trained Rough Habit Plate winner Shocking Luck.
All-in Queensland Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Shocking Luck at $5 for the win, while Rockstar Rebel sits as a $17 shot in the futures markets.
To check out all the winter racing odds and pre-field Queensland Derby betting head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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