The Victoria Derby is a true test for the nation's top 3yo stayers and always throws up the big question mark...."will they get the trip"?
With plenty of speed engaged in this year's edition, expect the race tempo to be solid and those devoid of genuine staying ability to be crucified, leaving them to tail right out.
The predicted leaders may go a little too hard this year and I'm tipping one from back in the field to get home over the top.
Flemington Track Traits
Flemington is currently rated a Good 4, with the rail in the true position the entire circuit and fine conditions predicted for Saturday.
Over the Victoria Derby distance and with the rail in the true, expect both on-pace and run-on profiles to get their chance.
As always, it is worth watching early races, as on occasion the Flemington rail can be on fire, giving a significant advantage to horses racing on or close to it.
Racing Market Movers
Stars Of Carrum has seen good support in early betting, firming from $12 into $9.50. Farooq has also firmed, into $12 from $16 openers. All other runners remain steady.
#1 Thinkin' Big $2.90
Loves to lead and dictate as per the famous Waterhouse/Bott mantra, and they have found an excellent subject to execute their preferred style with this tough on-speed colt.
He was dominant last start in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic when he led and simply ran away from them all to win by 3 lengths.
The tactics will again be to ride the speed in this, and provided they don't burn along in front, he will be kicking for a very long way. Top hope.
#2 Aramayo $6.50
Was backed off the map at Moonee Valley last week and he was also singled out late in betting two back, when just missing in the Spring Champion at Randwick.
They did not go quick enough for him at the Valley and the tight circuit was also against him.
He can bounce straight back to winning from here, as the mug punters drop off following his last start defeat.
With any luck and a genuine tempo, he will be winning. Must go on top.
#3 Extra Brut $9.50
Has been racing well and deserves to be high up in the market for this race following his ultra impressive wins at three of his past four starts.
Last start he simply could not make up ground at Caulfield, when Thinkin' Big crawled in front .
Expect him to put in a much improved effort here, with more speed in the race to suit.
Aquis Farm bought controlling shares in this colt during the week. They will be looking for a quick return on investment and have the opportunity here to get him to stud with a big scalp.
Their advisers are shrewd and should always be respected. Leading hope.
#4 Stars Of Carrum $12 > $9.50
Devastated punters in the last at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day, after rolling hot favourite Aramayo at huge odds ($47).
The lead up runs had been good, albeit in lesser quality, and some may hold to the "every dog has his day" attitude.
Don't buy into the belief that his Valley win was a fluke. He was very strong to the line and his run had plenty of merit.
Although well found in betting this week, he can pull their pants down again. Yes.
#7 Savoie $9.50
Has been well supported in betting in his past few starts and has run well at each, with a last start second to bolter Stars Of Carrum in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase.
It looks as though he's been crying out to get to this Derby trip and should relish the extra distance, considering he has been strong at the end of all races this prep.
He does draw out a touch further than the stable would like in gate 17, however they will press forward in any case and he should have no trouble settling in the first four.
If he can find cover one back or sit outside the lead, expect him to take plenty of beating. Looks value at the current $9.50.
#12 Farooq $16 > $12
Was very brave in the Geelong Classic when placing second behind Home Run.
He would have to improve significantly to be troubling the leading fancies in this, however horses can come on leaps and bounds in their 3yo year and there is no doubting the extra distance will suit here.
He will be close to speed and in it for a long way. Can win.
Of The Others
Trainer Mike Moroney can never be underestimated in these big staying features and he has Chapada entered here.
This colt is showing enough in weaker grade to earn a ticket in this and the stable know how to get them peaking on the day with moderate form.
If they bet $15+ he is worth specking.
Best Racing Tips
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