The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The money continues to come through for the Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained favourite Dalasan to handle a step-up in distance and salute for the punters in the 2020 South Australian Derby this weekend.
Looking at the latest markets for the Group 1 $400,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) and the bookies are tipping a three-horse race in the Morphettville classic.
Heading the top fancied trio drawn in barrier nine for jockey Jason Holder is the in-form Dalakhani colt Dalasan chasing his first win over further than 2035m.
The Morphettville specialist is four-from-four at the track and looking to continue his flawless form at Adelaide’s premier track.
After a close fifth when only 1.5 lengths beaten by star Perth galloper Regal Power in Caulfield’s $5 million The All-Star Mile (1600m) in mid-March, Dalasan returned home and has won his latest two lead-up runs into the Derby.
Two back he was a three-length winner in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) before taking out the Group 3 SA Chairman’s Handicap (2035m) by 1.3 lengths as the odds-on favourite.
He faces a distance test this weekend going up to just over a mile and a half in the Group 1, but the punters remain confident with Dalasan sitting top of the SA Derby odds at $2.80 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
The other two best fancied three-year-olds at an equal quote of $4 are then the co-second elects Warning and Russian Camelot drawn in barriers three and seven respectively.
Damien Thornton partners the Anthony Freedman-trained Warning with the Declaration Of War gelding last seen running two lengths back third in the Chairman’s.
He was disappointing on a Heavy (8) Randwick track before that when running a well-beaten sixth behind the Kiwi Quick Thinker in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
Still, on firmer going he is likely to show improvement back up to 2500m, the distance he won the Group 1 VRC Derby over last November at Flemington.
Thornton chases a Group 1 double on successive weekends with the hoop on a high after last Saturday’s Schweppes Oaks success aboard Toffee Tongue.
“I was pretty happy when I saw barrier three,” the jockey told Racenet this week.
“I won’t have to do any work to get him into a nice spot behind the leaders and hopefully it will be happy days.
“We probably needed to see him do that in the Chairman’s to be fair.
“Dalasan didn’t end up beating him by a big margin, I think it was just over a length in the end, but he was very good in the straight.
“He looks ready to run a big race on his last start. He was very strong late.
“Dalasan has done nothing wrong to suggest he won’t stay but it’s a different kettle of fish when he gets to 2500 (metres).
“Compared to 2000, it’s not the same and I know my bloke is proven so I don’t have to worry about it.
“We’ll know if he will on Saturday but not many horses win down the (Flemington) straight and win a Derby in the same season.
“He’d want to be a pretty good horse to win a Danehill (Stakes) and a Derby in the same year.”
The potential x-factor in the race, Russian Camelot is the unknown with Danny O’Brien’s Irish-bred Camelot colt having just his fifth career start in the SA Derby field.
He was last seen winning at Pakenham on April 9 over the mile carrying 61.5kg to a runaway seven length triumph in a BenchMark 64 and is out to frank that form in tougher company dropping in weight for the Group 1.
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