Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
Casuarina trainer Lindsey Smith is hoping to score an upset in Saturday’s 2018 WA Derby at Ascot Racecourse in an edition of the mile and a half classic he believes is “weak” with his untapped runner Young Thor.
There are no interstate raiders making the trip to Perth for this year’s Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) despite the lucrative prize money on offer.
With an all-local affair and no genuine autumn standouts, Smith’s confidence his roughie hope Young Thor can give the field a shake-up is strong.
“I just thought that the $400,000 would catch the eye of some of the trainers over there, especially as this is probably [one of] the weakest Derbies of recent time,” Smith told Racing Victoria earlier in the week.
“We’ve got a couple of OK fillies but there isn’t much depth with the colts this year.
“But you have your good years and your not-so-good [editions].”
Smith is a dual WA Derby winning trainer having taken out the race with Old Money (2000) and Plastered (2005).
His runner this year, Frost Giant gelding Young Thor, won at Bunbury over the mile two back before his last start second over 2100m at Ascot in No Metro Wins clash.
Jockey Daniel Staeck retains the ride on the up-and-comer for his acid test in the Group 2 on the weekend, Young Thor dropping from 58kg to 56.5kg at set weights in the Derby.
That is a firming price from his opening triple-figure offering of $101 and one that Smith hopes the surprisingly strong staying type can perform better than on the weekend.
“He came to me as a sprinter and to tell you the truth I nearly gave him back to the owners early on and he looked pretty limited, but I put some work into him and put him up to a mile and he won,” Smith explained.
“Then I kept the work up to him and he took it and then went to 2100 metres last time and fought on pretty well so when I looked at the Derby I thought he was worth a shot at it.”
Favourite in WA Derby betting at $3.70 and firming is the Grant & Alana Williams-trained Pierro gelding Action looking to atone for a luckless fifth in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2000m) last time out.
Winner of that, Money Maher, is a $5.50 chance to keep the wins coming stepping-up in distance on Saturday before the rails-drawn Sentimental Friend rounds out the single-figure chances at $6 after his lead-up second in the Melvista.
Sentimental Friend is another of the six runners from Team Williams who have dominated the WA Derby results in the past decade with five wins in the last seven years.
As for the “OK fillies” Smith mentioned, the shortest-priced to beat the boys on Saturday is the WA Oaks winner Special Alert ($11) from the Williams’ stable who suffered a blow with a wide barrier (17 into 15).
To check out the full WATC Derby 2018 betting odds and Perth racing markets for Saturday head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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