Darren Weir is looking to secure his third consecutive SA Derby. The leading hope of the stable is the Wanted gelding Leicester who will jump from gate 9 under Damian Lane. With a solitary start as a late season 2YO, he returned to the track in January and will line-up for his 8th start this preparation. Breaking his maiden when second-up at Terang over 1400m, he defeated stablemate and last week’s Australasian Oaks winner Sopressa by 2.25 lengths. Fourth-up at the mile he secured victory by the same margin over another Oaks runner in Think Bleue. With the SA Derby firmly in Weir’s sights, the geldings campaign was set to run in the two traditional lead-up races of the Port Adelaide Guineas and the Chairman’s Stakes, with both of Weir’s previous two Derby winners coming through the same two races. Jumping from gate 1, Lane never bustled him early and allowed Leicester plenty of time to settle. Squeezing out of a gap in the straight he was strong to the line. The extra trip doesn’t look a concern.
Resuming for the Autumn in the CS Hayes Stakes at 1400m, Main Stage drew a wide gate and after settling at the rear was doing his best work in the closing stages when attacking the line strongly to be under two lengths from the winner Grunt. Second-up into the Australian Guineas, he drew a better alley but was still settled closer to the back of the pack and never really worked into the race with nothing really making any ground from too far back in the run. He never really looked likely to threaten in the G1 Rosehill Guineas and then in the ATC Derby, he was ridden much more aggressively and sent forward. Caught wide for a good portion of the race, he was fighting on and really only started to drop out with 200m left to run after doing a mountain of work. Damian Oliver will take the ride for the first time and has ridden the gelding in a jumpout to prepare for this race.
If there was any horse that put in a real eye-catcher as a Derby Trail out of the Chairman’s, it was the Ellerton/Zahra trained High ‘N’ Dry. Settling at the rear of the pack after jumping from the widest gate, Andrew Mallyon still had the gelding seeing the whole field with 400m left to run. Angled to the outside the High Chaparral gelding was eating into the advantage that Leicester had set with 150m to run and ran through the line strongly. That followed his Port Adelaide Guineas run when finishing one length in arrears of the winner Spring Choice over the 1800m. Settling last he was flashing home late and went past Leicester in the closing stages. Needing more time after two starts early in the season, he resumed at Geelong over 1300m. Out to the mile when second-up he jumped from a wide gate, was given plenty of time to settle and then charged home to score an impressive three length victory. The wide gate should be of little concern with his drop-out pattern.
After two starts as an early season 3YO to start his career, the Tavistock gelding returned with a first-up victory at Ballarat over 1400m, scoring narrowly in the set weights event. Well beaten when thrown in the deep-end of the G2 Autumn Classic 2nd up, he took no ill-effect from the run when finishing 2nd over 2025m at Cranbourne. Stepped out to 2400m when 5th-up, he was carrying 56kg with Jordan Childs up for the first time and scored by a long neck in the Listed Galilee Final. He defeated stablemate Rezealient in that race after he was charging home back in the field but couldn’t get past Won Won Too who was strong to the line. Put on the pace last start over the 2800m of the VRC St Leger, he couldn’t see out the longer trip with Rezealient again closing out late to finish 1.5 lengths from the winner Runaway. Dropping back to the 2500m looks more suitable here with Jordan Childs staying on for the Lindsay Park team and the gelding will jump from gate 4.
The South Australian Derby is run over 2500m at Adelaide’s Morphettville racecourse. Like all Derby’s the race is restricted to 3 year old’s and held at set weights, with colts & geldings to carry 56.5kg and fillies 54.5kg.
In 2017 ballot exemptions were offered to the first 3 placegetters in the Chairman’s Stakes and the Australasian Oaks, while the winner of the Port Adelaide Guineas also received exemption. A Group 1 Classic, the 2016 edition will offer total prizemoney of $600,000 with the winner to receive $384,000.
First held in 1860, the race was granted G1 status in 1984 and since then has been won by some talented types, including Shivas Revenge, Subzero, Mummify, Zarita and Rebel Raider who was successful in the VRC Derby in the Spring. The 2017 winner was the Darren Weir trained Volatile Mix ridden by John Allen.
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|Date:||Saturday 12th May 2018|
|Race Time:||15:36 AEST|
|Race Type:||3YO Set Weights|
|2017 Winner:||Volatile Mix|
|2018 South Australian Derby Odds|
|2016||Howard Be Thy Name|
|2011||Shadows In The Sun|