Victoria Derby 2016 racing preview
27 October 2016 10:41 AM
The start of the Flemington Spring Carnival is upon us with the Group 1 Victoria Derby, the grand final for three-year-old thoroughbreds, getting top billing on the best race day of the year. The Derby is held under set weight conditions over the 2500m course, with $1,500,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Historically the key form races for the Victoria Derby are:
- the Moonee Valley Vase, which ran last Saturday at 2040m and
- the Caulfield Classic, which ran on Caulfield Cup Day a few weeks ago at 2000m.
Over the past 30 years the Vase has produced no less than 15 winners and the Caulfield Classic 12 winners over the same period. The Geelong Classic is the other lead-up race that produced winners over this time including Rebel Raider (2008) and Preferment (2014), going on to claim the Victoria Derby at their next start.
The common thread betweem the Derby winners over the 30 year period is that every single one has finished in the top four in their most recent run.
The Flemington track is currently rated a Good 4, and with no rain predicted between now and Sunday, expect it to stay that way or improve to a Good 3.
1. Sacred Elixir was a worthy winner in the Moonee Valley Vase. Sat with a good trail and finished strongly carrying 57kg with some interference in the run for home. Great form and looks suited with the extra distance here.
3. Swear was runner-up to Yankee Rose in the Champion Stakes who since placed in the Cox Plate. Has certainly been an improver this preparation and expect him to go on with it.
10. So Si Bon. Plenty to like about his efforts this campaign. Was good from barrier 11 at Caulfield to finish 1.8 lengths from Sacred Elixir and then hit a dead end when winding up in the Caulfield Guineas, managing to finish 1.9 lengths away from the winner. Solid third in the Vase on his least preferred soft track and extra distance should suit. Top contender.
2. Prize Icon looked a genuine improver up to his most recent run in the Vase. Some excuses in the run after receiving a check mid-race. Looked like he had more petrol left in the tank in the Champion when a close third to Yankee Rose. Can't dismiss.
6. Inference. Strong finish at his most recent outing ending up 1.8 lengths third behind Good Standing. Genuinely wants further. Meets tougher competition here but can't dismiss.
13. Beach Life. Last two runs are better than they look on paper as he ran wide on both occasions and faced a stiff breeze at Caulfield to finish fourth. Good form for further and well drawn to get a better position in the running. Chance.
7. Captain Duffy won the Geelong Classic by 1.2 lengths after going straight to the front from barrier 16. Solid win under the circumstances. Win wouldn't surprise.
4. Rocketeer was a close second in the Caulfield Classic when he showed strong late splits. He's been a model of consistency with seconds in each of his last four starts. This is not beyond him.
5. Morvada led into the straight in the Vase last week before being collared by Sacred Elixir. A slight query around the 2500m after that run but not ruling him out.
9. Wine Bush disappointed in the Caulfield Classic last start after winning the UCI Stakes at 1800m the race before. Moreira takes the reigns so likely to get the best out of him.
14. Tumultuous made up good ground in the Geelong Classic to finish a close fourth after settling towards the rear of the 16 horse field. Likely to find himself there again from barrier 18. Best chance will be if there is genuine pace up front.
12. Highland warrants some consideration on his third in the UCI Stakes two runs back. Raced wide facing the breeze at his recent outing. Will need to work early again to get forward from a wide barrier. Chances improve if he gets relief up front.
11. Kent settled at the tail of the field at his two most recent outings. Made good ground in the UCI Stakes two starts back but slow pace didn't suit his back marker position in the Caulfield Classic. Race pattern is key.
15. Hollywood Mo made a strong charge to the line in the Geelong Classic from midfield. Looks like the extra distance will be ideal. Must consider.
8. Silvera didn't find the clearest path to home seven days ago in the Vase when finishing 5.6 lengths behind Sacred Elixir. Can improve on that run and Flemington gives him that opportunity. Was runner-up the run before that behind Pretty Punk who placed in the Geelong Classic. Chance.
18. Anaheim takes a step-up in class but can't fault his form coming off a strong win in maiden grade over 2040m.
16. All Out Of Love hasn't really fired in three runs back this preparation and meets an even better lot here.
20. Zoffman hard to have on Geelong Classic form where there were no apparent excuses.
17. Peter John has raced well in easier races. Competition rises significantly from his recent Canberra mid-week Class 1 win.
19. Shine Tak Star beat a Class 1 field at Kembla last Saturday where only one runner had raced up to 2400m before. Big step up here.
Despite some clear stand-outs in the race, cases can be made for many of the runners making it a tough task for punters. Race pattern will play a big part in the outcome with several horses either needing pace in the race, while some of the front runners will appreciate a moderate to slow tempo. I am expecting the pace to be genuine at worst, with some clear leaders lining up in the race. My top four selections are listed below and the suggested play is 10 units each-way on #10 So Si Bon and 20 units the win #1 Sacred Elixir.
1st So Si Bon performed well in his lead-up races with excuses that have prevented him from showing his best. Flemington and a dry track helps his case in this race and he looks great value at current quotes of $10.
2nd Sacred Elixir was ultra impressive in the Vase and looks primed to go on with the job here.
3rd Captain Duffy. Shouldn't spend as much to get to the front as he did in his previous outing. Race tempo will be the key to his chances. If they don't go crazy he's a big chance.
4th Rocketeer has been ultra-consistent and form lines put him in with a chance.
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