Victoria Derby 2023
Distance: 2500m | Conditions: Set Weights | Rail Position: True | Track Condition: Good 4
The country’s premiere race for three-year-old stayers, The Victoria Derby, headlines a massive day at HQ this Saturday. We’ve got a near capacity field, with Riff Rocket from the Chris Waller yard heading the market. Punters are looking around him for value early, but will he prove too good? Let’s try find a winner!
Not expecting them to go helter skelter here and should be a tightly bunched field the whole way. A lot of the key chances at the top of the market have drawn inside the first 6 barriers so expect plenty of tactical rides. Sacred Eagle looks as though he’ll take charge up front unless they let Air Assault roll on. JMac will have no excuses on Riff Rocket, but will be within the sights of his Verdad and Apulia who will sit midfield. Luke Nolan and John Allen have it all to do on their mounts in Gates and Sunsets, and will likely be dragged back from their wide alleys.
1: Apulia (3)
On the seven day backup after winning the Moonee Valley vase last weekend. Relished the quick tempo, put pay to them very quickly and was soft on the line. Bred to stay, 2500m looks no issue for him.
2: Verdad (4)
Surprised to see Verdad is single figures. Set a hot speed in the Moonee Valley vase and was no match for Apulia from the 200m. Can’t see him turning the tables on him here with the extra distance.
3: Air Assault (6)
Plenty of merit in his run in The Vase where he sat just off that fast tempo and was cooked, but continued to work to the line. Will likely go to the front again and try break their hearts. Rock hard fit and 2500m shouldn’t be an issue. Each way hope.
4: Riff Rocket (5)
Market favourite and commands respect. Left them for dead in the Super Impose and consequently started the Caulfield Classic $1.45 favourite where they crawled along and he was given no chance. James McDonald has come out midweek singing his praises again, and Waller will have him primed. If he can replicate his run from the Super Impose, they won’t beat him.
5: Sunsets (16)
Nice effort running on with real conviction in the Super Impose, and was then suited by the crawl in the Caulfield Classic where he outsprinted Riff Rocket. By Dundeel, in an astute stable so should see out the trip. Don’t dismiss.
6: Make A Call (15)
$1.35 favourite last time out in a Kembla maiden, and lost. Runs prior were a pass mark but he won’t turn the tables on the top hopes.
7: Gold Bullion (13)
Savabeel gelding coming off a very average showing at Caulfield last start. His runs were prior were nice, including a win against Sunsets over 1800m. Happy to forgive on last effort, but will still need to lift.
8: Gates (14)
Looks a genuine derby horse. Lightly raced but is bred to stay, has a big action and been working to the line nicely. Has had massive market support in early betting and will be strong late. Sticky gate a concern.
9: Kosgei (12)
Never looked a chance in the Super Impose. Bounced back with a strong showing in the Geelong Classic, working through the line really nicely. Big action and the engine to match. Overs?
10: Bulawayo (7)
Nice effort at odds in the Super Impose, then put in another sound performance in the Vase. Hasn’t done enough to convince me he can win this but is a nice horse.
11: Sacred Eagle (2)
Was found wanting when rising to 2200m in the Geelong Classic last start. Hard to see him improving enough to make an impact here.
12: Roguery (1)
Will undoubtedly stay the trip, but does he have the class? Done well at the provincials where he’s been beating older horses. Gate is no issue and is one of the better roughies in the race.
13: Mercante (11)
Can Ollie salute in his last ever Derby aboard Mercante? Has appreciated any rise in distance but is coming into this out of a BM64. Hard to have.
14: To Be Frank (10)
Was outsprinted in his only real test so hard to get a read on him. He may improve with a genuine staying contest but hard to make a case for him being just his fourth start.
15: Warialda Warrior (9)
Fit and bred to stay but may be a bit out of his depth.
16: Tokyo Run (8)
Not quite up to this.
Black odds for Riff Rocket is very attractive. He’s the class horse in the race and if he stays, he should win.
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