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Cranbourne trainer Trent Busuttin has not given up on a 2018 Queensland Oaks bid for the stable’s untapped three-year-old Johnny Vinko who will race for his place in the field via a run at Sandown-Hillside on Wednesday.
The three-year-old son of Savabeel is engaged in the $35,000 Mypunter.com Handicap (2400m) over the mile and a half at Ladbrokes Park at the midweek meet after failing to gain a start in last Saturday’s Group 1 SA Derby (2500m).
Busuttin and co-trainer Natalie Young are hoping the bay can get an autumn – winter win on the board and earn a shot at the Group 1 $600,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben on June 9.
“He’ll really have to put his hand up to continue to the Derby, he’ll have to win or at least come close on Wednesday,” Busuttin told Racing Victoria on Monday.
“It will be hard with that big weight against the older horses, but we’re confident he’ll be around the mark.”
Johnny Vinko carries 59.5kg in the Benchmark 64 handicap on Wednesday jumping from barrier 10 with Regan Bayliss booked for the ride.
“He’s a great young rider and has been doing a lot of work for us at the moment so we’re really happy to have him on,” Busuttin said of Bayliss.
The young stayer has run second in his past two starts, the first seeing him cross a narrow second to Runaway at Geelong over 2218m on April 17 before carrying 59kg for his second to Into Rio over 2200m at Pakenham Synthetic on April 26.
The form from his start two back was franked in the South Australian Derby results with Runaway, winner of the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington in the interim, finishing third to Leicester to round out the trifecta.
Busuttin & Young were represented in the SA Derby by Main Stage who ran a disappointing ninth beaten five lengths.
“He pulled up fine, but was a bit disappointing and looked like he was at the end of his prep, so he’ll go to the paddock,” Busuttin confirmed.
Johnny Vinko has won just one of his 10 career starts to date when saluting first-up over 1400m in early March at Wangaratta.
He has not been tested in black-type company since a failed run as a $31 outsider at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival running dead last (1th) behind Ace High in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Unsurprisingly, Johnny Vinko is only rated a $41 shot in pre-field Queensland Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The all-in Queensland Derby betting markets are firmly led by Dark Dream at $2.80 after Kerry Parker’s All American gelding won last weekend’s Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben by a runaway four lengths.
Originally Johnny Vinko’s stablemates Salsamor and Snogging were also being prepped for a Queensland Derby and Queensland Oaks assignment respectively, but both are now returning home to Victoria early after failed lead-up runs.
Tavistock colt Salsamor ran 11th to Dark dream in the Rough Habit Plate nearly 20 lengths beaten, while I Am Invincible filly Snogging ran a flat ninth to Youngstar in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m).
To back your favourites in the Queensland Derby 2018 next month at the right price visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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