The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The country’s premier staying race for three-year-old horses takes place at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday and our exclusive Victoria Derby 2023 tips and best bets on the stallion-making classic can be found below.
The now Penfolds-sponsored Victoria Derby was first contested back in 1855 and the latest young galloper to be crowned champion will be known when the event takes place at headquarters as Flemington Race 7 at 4:20pm (AEDT).
The Melbourne Cup may be the country’s most famous race but the $2 million VRC Derby run over 2500m is the oldest feature race in the country.
It is six years older than the iconic Melbourne Cup race that will be held for the 163rd time next Tuesday on November 7.
So, will be our next Victoria Derby champion?
Can Chris Waller’s exciting up-and-comer Riff Rocket salute for the punters back at Flemington where he posted a powerhouse 5.5 length Black-Type victory two starts back?
Is the Vase form out of Moonee Valley’s Cox Plate Day card last weekend the superior form with the Team Hayes-trained winner Apulia on the quick back-up again?
Read on below to see the young horses we have on top of our Victoria Derby selections for Saturday’s leading Melbourne event before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au for all the Derby Day odds and offers.
To Win: #1 Apulia ($3.90 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Happy to stick with the Vase winner who was so good at The Valley winning over the 2040m by two lengths. The Team Hayes-trained colt is well-bred being a son of a former Melbourne Cup winner (Fiorente) so think the step-up in distance to 2500m is a non-issue. Draws a treat in barrier three for the grand final and Mark Zahra, gearing up for his Melbourne Cup ride aboard Without A Fight on Tuesday, continues associations. Right form, right hoop, good draw, bred to win.
The Danger: #4 Riff Rocket ($2.45 at time of publish) – BET NOW
Excitement machine Riff Rocket is on show again and is looking to get back in favour with the punters after getting rolled by Sunsets as the beaten odds-on pick in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic last start. Prior to that he bolted home with a 5.5 length demolition job in the Listed Super Impose (1800m) here at headquarters where he will appreciate returning to. Needs to get the distance but looks like he is worth forgiving with a gun gate here (5) and J Mac out to produce some magic on a very promising young star in the making.
Best Roughie: #3 Air Assault ($14 at time of publish) – BET NOW
We have a wide-open market outside the dominant two top picks in this year’s Derby with a host of double-figure fancies out for an upset. Sticking with one of the safer roughies and not a rogue outsider though in Air Assault who is has been racing very consistently. The Andrew Gluyas-trained South Australian gets the run of the race from gate six with Ben Allen in the saddle. In easier grade at home he won Morphettville’s Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m) by over three lengths two back. Third at his latest in the Vase, well beaten by Apulia but still in touch. Can surprise a few here.
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