Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
In-form three-year-old Shoreham is looking like Melbourne-based jockey Chris Symons’ best chance of breaking his Group 1 maiden status with the duo to maintain their association this Saturday in the 2013 South Australian Derby at Morphettville Racecourse.
Symons rode the Saab Hasan-trained Reset gelding last start at Flemington on April 13 for a nice three and a half length victory over a decent field of fellow three-year-olds in the Listed Galilee Final (2500m).
The horse had gate two that run and relished the inside draw after running two good minor placings in the lead-up from wide barriers (13 and 15 respectively) at Caulfield in March.
Their flying form over the past month has Symons’ hopes high heading into the $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby this weekend, run over the same 2500m distance as the Galilee Final, especially after Shoreham came up trumps with barrier three.
“I reckon I’ve got the best horse in the race,” he said.
“I was amazed the way he showed that turn of foot after pulling so hard in the run (last start).
“I think he’s a classy horse over a trip. He’s proven that he’ll run it (the 2500m) out no worries.”
Symons came close to Group 1 success last weekend when finishing second behind Mourayan aboard the Walter McShane-trained Norsqui in the Sydney Cup, a horse he enjoyed the Group 2 Adelaide Cup win on back in March, but is desperately hoping to go one better this Saturday in Adelaide.
“I ran second in the Sydney Cup on Saturday on Norsqui and that was a bit of a buzz,” he said.
“I’ve always been chasing that Group One like any jockey and having spent a couple of years in South Australia as an apprentice it would mean a lot to me.”
Scoring the SA Derby trophy this year would also atone for their narrow loss in the 2010 edition of the race when finishing just a long head away second aboard Red Colossus behind the Peter Snowden-trained winner Kidnapped.
But of course a Group 1 isn’t the be all and end all for the successful hoop.
“Don’t get me wrong, if I don’t get it, so be it,” he said of the Group 1 trophy.
“I know everyone says, `you’ve got to get a Group One, you’ve got to get a Group One’ but I’m pretty grateful for what I’ve already done in my riding career.”
They may have the ideal lead-up form and now the gate but Shoreham still has plenty of work to do in the Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival classic with plenty of class among their rivals including the Peter Gelagotis-trained Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes winner Hvasstan and likely favourite Hioctdane who is one of only two locally-trained hopes in the race.
Richard Jolly’s galloper Hioctdane has drawn the extreme outside barrier (15 of 15), but the Strada gelding is sure to still have plenty of supporters after their big four length win in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m) at the track last Saturday.
They are on a short back-up but their form is too good to ignore and they are likely to handle the step up in distance too according to a confident Jolly.
“I think he’s good enough. I’m certainly not concerned about the opposition,” Jolly said.
“He’ll just need a bit of luck from where he’s drawn.
“It’s a Group One and they are hard to win, but there doesn’t look a super standout in there.
“I think he’s peaking at the right time and is one on the way up.”
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