The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Co-trainer Simon Zahra could not believe the bad barrier luck of the stable’s SA Derby 2018 hope for Saturday High ‘N’ Dry who suffered yet another wide alley for the Morphettville feature.
A capacity line-up of autumn three-year-olds face off in the Group 1 $600,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) in Adelaide on Saturday with 16 starters plus four emergencies.
One of the widest-drawn horses in the SA Derby field in 2018 was High ‘N’ Dry with gate 18, which will become 15 at best with the emergencies out.
There has been three recent South Australian Derby winners to salute from wider than barrier 11 with Tails Of Triomphe (2005), Testafiable (2006) and Kidnapped (2010) all saluting from gate 16 of 16.
This weekend Zahra and fellow trainer Mathew Ellerton are hoping High ‘N’ Dry can get the job done from out wide with the son of High Chaparral on the improve after two lead-up runs at the track.
After a Sandown-Hillside victory by three lengths over a mile in early April, the up-and-comer headed to South Australia and began his Derby bid in earnest.
His first Morphettville run produced a close third when a length beaten in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) from barrier 15 of 15.
He then crossed just three-quarters of a length second to the Darren Weir-trained Leicester, favourite in SA Derby betting this weekend, on April 28 in the traditional SA Derby lead-up when drawn the outside again (11 of 11) in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2035m).
In six career starts, High ‘N’ Dry is yet to draw inside of barrier 10.
Still he has been competitive and Zahra is hoping that continues with the step-up in grade and distance in the South Australian Derby.
“Surely he couldn’t have been this unlucky again, we’re obviously not saying our prayers hard enough,” Zahra told Racing Victoria.
“He’s drawn close to the outside in each of his six starts already, the shortest draw he’s had is barrier 10, it’s crazy, but luckily he’s been mostly able to overcome it.”
Jockey Andrew Mallyon retains the ride on High ‘N’ Dry and Zahra said instructions would be to get back from the gate allowing the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained last start VRC St Leger winner Runaway ($14) to set the pace.
“Andrew probably left that run a bit late too [last start in the Chairman’s], but he’s a great rider and we’ve backed him in again to get the job done on Saturday, he knows the horse well now,” he said.
“From that gate he’ll have to go back again on Saturday but hopefully with Gai’s horse in the race there will be some genuine speed.”
High ‘N’ Dry currently pays $6 as one of just four horses in South Australian Derby betting under double-figures for the win this Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival.
Zahra & Ellerton ran third in the SA Derby trifecta last year with beaten favourite Odeon and they are dually represented 12 months on with High ‘N’ Dry joined by underrated stablemate Into Rio ($19).
“Yes High ‘N’ Dry is a serious horse, but they worked together on Tuesday and were both fantastic, the best they’ve both worked, and Into Rio will get to jump from a good barrier so anything could happen,” Zahra said.
Zacinto gelding Into Rio was disappointing two back when 12th in the Port Adelaide Guineas before enjoying a confidence boosting win over 2200m at Pakenham on April 26 carrying 59.5kg.
To back your SA Derby 2018 tips at the right price this weekend head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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