Fontein Lad Genuine 2017 Queensland Derby Chance

Jockey Nikita Beriman believes her mount in Saturday’s Queensland Derby 2017 field Fontein Lad is a genuine winning hope in Brisbane despite being a tricky young horse to ride.

Nikita Beriman

Jockey Nikita Beriman chases her second career Group 1 winning ride on Fontein Lad in the 2017 Queensland Derby at Doomben on Saturday. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

Beriman has just the sole Group 1 winning ride on her record, aboard 100/1 outsider Tears I Cry in the 2007 Emirates Stakes at Flemington, and it has been a decade since the now 31-year-old enjoyed elite level success.

Back to her best form after an injury-enforced break from the saddle that last over 12 months, Beriman is excited about her prospects at Doomben Racecourse this weekend.

She is booked to partner the Greg Eurell-trained Fontein Lad in one of the three Stradbroke Handicap Day Group 1 races moved from Eagle Farm to Doomben in 2017.

Fontein Lad is up notably in grade for a shot at the $600,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2200m) on the back of a last start Ipswich win over the same distance.

In that three-years-old handicap the Turffontein gelding carted 58kg to a quarter-length win over The Barracuda on May 31 with Beriman aboard after missing a run in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) earlier in the month.

Beriman is back for the Group 1 start on the weekend in the sunshine state and Fontein Lad currently pays $21 as an outsider in the pre-field Queensland Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.

“At the start he actually wanted to take a step to the left where the rail would be on a Victorian track, but I was able to get cover which was a big help,” Beriman said of Fontein Lad’s Ipswich win speaking to AAP this week.

The last start Ipswich victory was the fifth time in the horse’s six most recent runs that Beriman was in the saddle and she said he wasn’t always the easiest of rides.

“It took me to the 600 metres to pull him up at Ipswich,” she said.

“But he is a genuine stayer and has a chance on Saturday.”

Beriman has a solid recent record for Eurell having enjoyed 11 winners from 41 rides for the Cranbourne-based trainer in the past few months.

Eurell is no stranger to Group 1 success during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival having won the Doomben 10,000 in 2008 and 2009 as well as the 2008 BTC Cup with his champion sprinter Apache Cat.

“Fontein Lad deserves a crack at a Group 1 and he has stood up well since coming north,” Eurell said ahead of the weekend’s racing in Brisbane.

The first two past the post in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago lead all-in Queensland Derby betting with the winner Order Again holding narrow $4.80 favouritism.

The Darren Weir-trained runner-up Volatile Mix is at $5 to turn the tables and returning to winning form having won the SA Derby in his other latest start.

Check out the latest Queensland Derby 2017 betting odds and options online now at Ladbrokes.com.au.

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