The money continues to roll in for Annabel...
One-time favourite in Victoria Derby 2017 betting, Main Stage eased out in the markets after a wide draw for Saturday’s Flemington feature, but co-trainer Trent Busuttin remains confident.
Former Kiwi-based Busuttin won the Melbourne Cup Carnival staying showdown back in 2011 with Sangster and chases another win with Main Stage in Saturday’s Group 1 $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m).
After the capacity Victoria Derby field and barriers were released on Tuesday morning, the punters lost some love for Reliable Man three-year-old Main Stage who drew out in barrier 14.
The galloper was pre-field favourite in the Victoria Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au after the news that Darren Weir would not be accepting for his Moonee Valley Vase runner-up Cliff’s Edge.
The ultra-consistent Main Stage is now out to $7 in the updated Victoria Derby markets that have the better-drawn Spring Champion Stakes winner Ace High ($4.50) at the top with barrier three.
Main Stage has run top three in all six of his career starts to date including winning the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) over Cliff’s Edge on October 7 at Flemington.
Cliff’s Edge turned the tables next-up when Main Stage ran third in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m).
Michael Walker rode Main Stage to victory in the UCI Stakes from a wide barrier 13 of 14 draw before Mark Zahra had the mount from barrier one at Caulfield last start.
Walker reunites with the New Zealand-bred youngster this weekend and if the emergency, stablemate Beachwood (6), fails to gain a start Main Stage will have the same barrier 13 draw returning to Flemington Racecourse.
Wide gates have produced a number of recent VRC Derby winners including Rebel Raider (15 of 15 in 2008) who saluted at blow out odds of 100/1 and Lion Tamer (14 of 16 in 2010) who won for Murray Baker.
That is positive news for Busuttin who is now based at Cranbourne and trains with his partner Natalie Young as their other best fancied Derby hope this spring Sully also drew out in barrier 15.
“There is nothing you can do about the draw as it is what it is,” Busuttin said.
“We have the horses at peak fitness and we were delighted with their work on Tuesday, so it will be up to the riders to make of it what they will.”
Hugh Bowman is a three-time VRC Derby winning jockey including riding Sangster to victory for Busuttin and the hoop is on fellow Reliable Man gelding Sully on Saturday.
Sully is rated an $8 chance to the markets and comes off a third to the current Derby favourite Ace High in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in early October.
Prized Icon (2016) was third in the Spring Champion Stakes and fifth in the Moonee Valley Vase before his win in last year’s Victoria Derby as a $15 outsider.
Busuttin & Young also have Johnny Vinko as a confirmed Victoria Derby contender, Stephen Baster riding the Savabeel gelding from barrier four on the back of an unplaced Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) run.
Before the flop at Geelong Johnny Vinko, a $31 outsider to win the Group 1 on Saturday, was third behind Main Stage in the UCI Stakes.
“You can’t worry about things like the barrier although it will certainly dictate how the horses are ridden,” Busuttin added.
“From out wide I would expect Main Stage and Sully to go back while Johnny Vinko should be able to position himself in a nice handy spot off the back of the speed.
“Once they’ve found their positions it’s game on from there. We have some of the best in the business aboard, so we trust them to make the right decisions on how they see the race panning out.”
Busuttin believes the prices on the stable’s runners are pretty spot on, but said not to discount Johnny Vinko in his rematch with Geelong Classic winner Weather With You.
“Both Main Stage and Sully have been very good in their lead-up runs and I guess the bookmakers have reflected that,” he said.
“Although they are both going to need luck I expect them to be right there in the fight.
“Johnny Vinko will also surprise a few despite disappointing a little in the Geelong Classic last time.
“He never really had the run to suit and with his good draw I think he can definitely improve on that effort.”
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