Castelvecchio, Shadow Hero and Warning clash again in the most anticipated renewal of the $2 million ATC Australian Derby (2400m) in many years.
Rosehill Guineas winner Castelvecchio was dynamic last start and is back to top form at just the right time for Saturday’s three-year-old classic at Royal Randwick.
But he won’t lack for opposition in the Derby with Shadow Hero, winner of the Spring Champion Stakes and Randwick Guineas already this season, having beaten Castelvecchio home in three of their four clashes. And Warning is the proven stayer of the trio having won the Victoria Derby with real authority last spring.
Castelvecchio bounced back to his best in the Rosehill Guineas. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Since the ATC Australian Derby was switched from spring to autumn in 1979, there has been only two winners of the Victoria Derby-ATC Australian Derby double – Dulcify (1979) and Mahogany (1993).
Mahogany was trained by Lee Freedman and his brother, Anthony, prepares Warning.
In the Rosehill Guineas, Castelvecchio finished too strongly for Doncaster Mile hopeful Prince Fawaz while Shadow Hero (fourth) and Warning (fifth) were doing their best work on the line.
Freedman has such confidence in Warning’s staying ability he is even considering backing up with the three-year-old in the $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) on Day Two of The Championships at Royal Randwick on April 11.
“The Derby is certainly the plan and we may even look at a Sydney Cup following that just depending on how he’s going,’’ Freedman said.
Relucent, trained by Chris Waller, ran third in the Rosehill Guineas and is another likely ATC Australian Derby starter. Adding further depth to the field for the Randwick classic is Sherwood Forest, winner of the New Zealand Derby.
Meantime, Kiwi maestro Murray Baker has locked in a new rider for tough three-year-old Quick Thinker when the trainer aims for a fifth win in the $2 million ATC Australian Derby.
Quick Thinker was ridden by champion jockey James McDonald to a resolute win in the Group 2 $200,000 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Murray Baker and @ForsmanAndrew team up with fellow Kiwi @mcacajamez to take out the TAB Tulloch Stakes with Quick Thinker… Onwards to the Derby @atc_races pic.twitter.com/dbhMEfTdbD
But McDonald is already booked for Derby favourite Castelvecchio so Baker moved quickly to book Opie Bosson for Quick Thinker.
“Quick Thinker was pretty strong there, which is encouraging,’’ Baker said from New Zealand. “It is onto the Derby now. He’s got to go into the Derby with a chance on that run. I would love to keep McDonald because he rode (It’s A) Dundeel, but he is riding Castelvecchio.’’
Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman these days, has already won ATC Australian Derby with Jon Snow (2017), Mongolian Khan (2015), Dundeel (2013) and Nom Du Jeu (2008).
Of this group, only Jon Snow came through the Tulloch Stakes to win the Derby.
In fact, in successive years, Jon Snow, Levendi (2018) and Angel Of Truth (2019) have completed the Tulloch Stakes-ATC Australian Derby double.
Quick Thinker ($2.70 favourite) relished the wet track conditions to win by 1¼ lengths from Zebrowski ($4) with Diasonic ($13) nearly a length away third.
Quick Thinker tuned up for the ATC Australian Derby with a strong win in the Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“The track is playing pretty heavy, you need a good, fit horse that handles it really well because they are making hard work of it,’’ McDonald said. “He is a proven wet tracker, he got through it well, he is fit and he’ll be a force to be reckoned with come the Derby.”
Quick Thinker firmed from $15 into $11 for the ATC Australian Derby where Castelvecchio remains the $3.50 favourite.
“I was worried about the distance, not much the track,’’ Baker said. “He is out of an Al Maher mare so I thought the distance might get him, but that was a good tough effort.
“It is always nice to win and that is my fifth win in this race. I won it with Our Palliser (1987), The Bill (1993), Harris Tweed (2009) and Jon Snow (2017), so it has been a good race to me.’’
Zebrowski loomed up as a winning chance halfway down the straight but he seemed uneasy in the wet track and his effort to finish second was meritorious given how hard it was for horses to make ground wider out on the track.
MAMARAGAN CAN PRODUCE THE GOODS
Mamaragan will be the only Golden Slipper placegetter in the Group 1 $1 million ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Slipper winner Farnan is already in the spelling paddock and will be aimed at The Everest next spring, while runner-up Away Game is being reserved for the Percy Sykes Stakes on Day Two of The Championships.
But Mamaragan trainer John Thompson was buoyed by jockey Nash Rawiller’s confidence his colt will run a strong 1400m.
“Nash believes Mamaragan won’t have a problem with the Sires distance,’’ Thompson said.
“Mamaragan has only had the two starts, he’s still on ‘fresh’ legs, he’s come through the Golden Slipper in great order so we will press on to the Sires.’’
Farnan wins Golden Slipper
Horse Racing: Gai Waterhouse has claimed the Golden Slipper for a seventh time after horse Farnan was victorious at Rosehill.
In early Sires betting, Mamaragan shares favouritism at $8 with Prague and Aim.
Prague, winner of the Canonbury Stakes and Pago Pago Stakes, is also coming out of the Slipper where he was working to the line well to finish sixth.
Aim has been trained specifically with the Sires in mind, finishing third to Mamaragan in the Skyline Stakes then fourth to Prague in the Pago Pago.
Over the last decade, the fillies have mixed it with the “boys” in this race with five wins – Yosei (2010), Guelph (2013), Peggy Jean (2014), Yankee Rose (2016) and El Dorado Dreaming (2018).
Hungry Heart, a daughter of English superhorse Frankel, ran a close fifth in the Golden Slipper and is a chance to run in the Sires. Blue Diamond placegetter Personal struggled on the wet track in the Slipper when she finished down the track but is also likely to run on Saturday.
Originally published asDerby tipped to deliver one for the ages
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