The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The money is coming for the Chris Waller-trained Kovalica to take out the Ladbrokes Queensland Derby 2023 this weekend in Brisbane on the quick back-up off a Group 1 run at Doomben last weekend.
The Ocean Park gelding was brave against the older runners when third behind dual champ Huetor in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) last Saturday.
Prior to that he won the Group 2 Queensland Guineas over the Eagle Farm mile where he will return stepping out over the mile-and-a-half for the first time for the Group 1 $1 million Queensland Derby (2400m).
James McDonald comes aboard for the prized ride on the hot favourite in Queensland Derby betting with Kovalica drawn a treat in barrier five.
The Queensland Derby field features a capacity line-up of three-year-old stayers, and Kovalica is already odds-on at $1.95 through race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
Waller has prepared two previous Queensland Derby winners with Hawkspur (2013) and Kukeracha (2021), the latter ridden by the master J. Mac.
Along with the red-hot favourite this Saturday Waller also saddles-up his in-form Sweynesse gelding Special Swey who chases a third win on the trot.
The Kiwi expat made his debut for the stable down under on May 13 in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) winning the Doomben feature by 1.5 lengths in an upset at 30/1.
He won’t be found at that price in the Queensland Derby odds online with Special Swey at $10 to upset his better fancied stablemate.
Shorter occupying the second line of Queensland Derby betting at $6 is the rails-drawn Promises Kept from the stables of Ciaron Maher & David Eustace.
The son of Cluster was formerly prepared by Greg Eurell before a change of stables ahead of his eye-catching second last time out to Dunkel in the Group 1 SA Derby (2500m).
The Bendigo St. Leger Trial winner by over three lengths back in early April was under a length beaten over in Adelaide.
He now travels to the sunshine state fitter for the run and sure to appreciate the 2400m.
The Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock-trained Aberfeldie Boy is another SA Derby graduate backing-up in the Queensland Derby as a $10 shot.
The son of So You Think posted his second Group 1 Derby placing when 2.2 lengths back third at Morphettville having also finished the trifecta in the VRC Derby at Flemington back in the spring.
Other runners being kept safe in the markets after an upset include classy local Better Than Ready gelding The Vowles ($13) for Toby & Trent Edmonds and the John O’Shea-trained Stroke Of Luck ($17).
The Vowles brings in the strong form lines having run third in the Queensland Guineas from a wide alley behind Kovalica before a second to Special Swey in the Rough Habit Plate last time out.
Stroke Of Luck meanwhile was eighth in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) run in the wet two back before a third in the Rough Habit, which could prove the form line to follow into the QLD Derby.
The Queensland Derby is one of two elite levels on the Eagle Farm race card for Saturday along with the Group 1 $1 million Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m).
2023 Queensland Derby Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||41111×313||KOVALICA (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||5||57kg||92|
|2||5×51111132||THE VOWELS||Toby & Trent Edmonds||James Orman||14||57kg||87|
|3||3243×133||ABERFELDIE BOY||Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock||Craig Newitt||8||57kg||88|
|4||80×9229112||PROMISES KEPT||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||1||57kg||89|
|5||x549x41727||ANDALUS (NZ)||John O’Shea||Blake Shinn||19||57kg||89|
|6||4424231095||TAPILDOODLEDO (NZ)||Kerry Taplin||Ben Thompson||7||57kg||80|
|7||x312425570||WAITAK (NZ)||Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott||Jake Bayliss||15||57kg||86|
|8||73094211||SPECIAL SWEY (NZ)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||17||57kg||81|
|9||133×922683||STROKE OF LUCK||John O’Shea||Ben Melham||4||57kg||76|
|10||4201120114||SMARTAWI||Gregory Hickman||Tyler Schiller (a)||18||57kg||69|
|11||4×2521615||ARBY (NZ)||Darryn & Briar Weatherley||Sam Weatherley||16||57kg||84|
|12||73×178334||CUT ON A DIME||Bryce Heys||Damien Thornton||2||57kg||68|
|13||2x442x312||THE ENGLISHMAN (NZ)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Chad Schofield||13||57kg||64|
|14||3x322x6411||FAME||Peter G Moody||Jason Collett||12||57kg||67|
|15||x24212x716||XTRAREVZ||John Sargent||Joshua Parr||6||57kg||65|
|16||1321||SACRED MISSION (NZ)||David Vandyke||Craig Williams||10||57kg||66|
|17||98x4x52614||AMALGAMATION||Marcus Wilson||Ms Samantha Collett||20||57kg||61|
|18||786166||TRUE BLUE||Matthew Smith||Opie Bosson||11||57kg||58|
|20e||765551||ARTFUL GIRL||Kevin Kemp||Marnu Potgieter (a)||3||55kg||57|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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