The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
New Zealand horseman Roger James is still considering a trip down under with his smart three-year-old Sherrif a chance to line-up in the 2018 SA Derby in Adelaide next month.
High Chaparral gelding Sherrif has had just four career starts to date for two wins and a second, most notably a Group 3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) success at Awapuni in late March.
His Cambridge-based trainer James told the New Zealand Racing Desk on Friday that the call by he and connections, Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay, would make the call on whether to head across the Tasman in the coming days.
“We’re going to make a decision in the next few days,” he said.
“He will be entered next week for the South Australian Derby and then we’ll look at the nominations and decide whether he goes or not.”
The Group 1 $600,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) is scheduled to take place at Morphettville Racecourse on May 12.
Darren Weir’s Tasmanian Derby winner Civil Disobedience is early favourite in pre-field SA Derby odds after a close fifth in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) at Morphettville on April 14.
Bookmakers around Australia are also keeping Sherrif safe in SA Derby betting, the Kiwi paying around $13 to make the trip and salute.
Sherrif was last seen running a credible fifth on a Heavy track at Pukekohe Park as the beaten favourite unsuited to the wet conditions in the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2100m) on April 21.
“I firmly believe it was the track and he has come through the race well enough,” James said.
The Championship Stakes produced the South Australian Derby winner Showella back in 1999, the New Zealand-trained filly having run fourth in the lead-up run that year at Ellerslie in NZ.
Another South Australian Derby-bound three-year-old heading towards the staying classic this autumn is the Daniel & Ben Pearce-trained Al Maher colt Money Maher.
The Karnup-based bay from WA was disappointing last weekend running over five lengths back fifth to the brilliant winner Action in the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) at his home Ascot track.
Still, the team are keen to head east for the SA Derby next month with triple stakes winner Money Maher who came through his home Derby run in good order.
“We had a meeting with the owners on Sunday and they’re all pretty keen to have a crack at it,” co-trainer Ben Pearce told The West Australian this week.
“We would have liked him to run better in the Derby, but he’s done a good enough job this prep to warrant running in a race like that.
“He came through the run pretty good. He’s still a colt so if he happens to win, it would be very useful for his future.”
Money Maher will fly from Perth to Melbourne on Monday before being floated to Adelaide for the SA Derby where jockey Jarrad Noske will continue associations.
The SA Derby 2018 nominations close on May 1 with markets to open shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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