Ninety-seven three-year-olds remain in contention for one of the Spring Carnival’s most sought-after staying prizes following the release of 2015 Victoria Derby nominations this afternoon.
Chris Waller saddled Preferment to success in the 2014 edition of the Victoria Derby and has included a total of seven three-year-olds in nominations this year, including Devil Hawk and Vanbrugh.
Returning to racing this time for success in a Canterbury minor over 1250m on August 12th, Devil Hawk was unable to match the late pace when behind the likes of Wudang Mountain and Let’s Make It Rain at Rosehill Gardens a fortnight later, but responded in the best way possible when charging home to take out the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle last week.
Vanbrugh has steadily built to the task through five competitive starts since debuting for second in a 1200m Rosehill race on July 4th, but broke through for a maiden win over a mile at Warwick Farm last time out on September 9th.
Team Hawkes also appear likely to launch a multi-pronged attack on the feature race for three-year-olds after including all of Jadeer, Rageese and Snoopy in 2015 Victoria Derby nominations.
One of several exciting prospects for Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa this season, Jadeer is perhaps yet to hit peak condition through three career starts but appears as though he will relish a continued step-up in distance.
Running second in each of the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in autumn, Rageese returned this time for fourth in the Listed Rosebud (1200m).
Having broken through for a maiden race win in a Wyong minor over 1350m on August 30th, Rageese charged home for a credible third in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) last time out and is another runner than appears to be searching for more distance.
Snoopy was unable to match the late pace in his black type debut last weekend, but displayed a keen racing ability in taking out his three starts prior to the Listed Exford Plate (1400m).
Lizard Island has been set for an appearance in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) this time, however trainer Pat Hyland has elected to include the colt in 2015 Victoria Derby nominations.
Unlucky to finish second in his first two competitive starts upon debuting in April, the son of Sebring has taken well to a continued step-up in distance and class; finishing third behind he likes of Bon Aurum in a Sandown sprint over 1200m before placing a close second in the Exford Plate last time out.