The Group 1 Australian Derby is one of four feature races on the card at Randwick this Saturday and a bumper lineup of three-year-olds are set to compete for up to $1 million in prize-money.
Angel Of Truth saluted as a 15-1 chance last year, so while the two favourites look tough to beat, there is a case to be made for some of the roughies in this year’s field.
We’ve previewed the entire race and offer our best Australian Derby bets below.
I was thoroughly impressed by Zebrowksi’s run in the Tulloch Stakes and I think he’ll relish the step up in distance here. The Savabeel gelding is having his fourth run back from a spell and is now 2/3 so far this prep. Jockey Hugh Bowman went forward at the turn last week and had plenty of horse underneath him to finish second. Zebrowski did look to be in trouble early down the straight, but I think he probably could have caught Quick Thinker with another furlong to spare.
The barrier suits, there’s soft track form and Bowman has won this race aboard a Kiwi-bred galloper (Criterion) before. Angel Of Truth proved last year that the Tulloch form stacks up in the Derby, so I’m happy to have a play each way.
Shadow Hero is among the main chances in this year’s Australian Derby following a luckless run in the Rosehill Guineas a fortnight ago. The favourite found himself six off the lead with Joshua Parr in the saddle, but still showed enormous turn of foot to swoop in late and run fourth. The Pierro gelding is 2/2 at Randwick, with a Spring Champion Stakes win, under the belt and has drawn well, so it’s difficult to see him running a bad race.
Like Zebrowski, Quick Thinker sat just off the pace last week in the Tulloch but found himself with a much clearer run into the straight. James McDonald was off and gone at the final turn and barrier 6 should leave Opie Bosson with plenty of room tfor a repeat performance. Following in Angel Of Truth’s footsteps by completing the Tulloch Stakes – Australian Derby double wouldn’t be the least bit surprising.
The Fastnet Rock gelding has form over this distance and should be well-suited to the track conditions with rain forecast. Sherwood Forest won the New Zealand Derby over the same trip back in February and I think he should improve from his run in the Rosehill Guineas a fortnight ago. Michael Walker was forced to go forward earlier than he wanted from the wide draw, so now it’s up to Kerrin McEvoy to show a little more patience from barrier 12. This is the race trainer Tony Pike has been targeting, so I expect a big staying performance.