Two potential Queensland Derby-bound New Zealand gallopers face off for Donna Logan and co-trainer Chris Gibbs at Ellerslie across the Tasman this Saturday.
The duo saddle-up stablemates Tavidream and Comin’through in Race 8 – the Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) – from barriers nine and eight respectively as an earlier indicator of whether they’ll be over for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
The stable will also be represented in the race by Jake The Muss, while other potential Brisbane visitors in the coming weeks All Roads and undefeated two-year-old Qiji Phoenix run in the Manco Easter Stakes (1600m) and Diamond Lodge Champagne Stakes (1600m) at the meeting respectively.
The obvious target for their standout two in the Championship Stakes is the $600,000 Group 1 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 10.
Well-bred Tavistock gelding Tavidream is in flying form having run top two in all six of his starts for the 2016-17 season.
That includes posting three consecutive wins at Ellerslie leading up to Saturday where the progressive galloper will extend out over further than a mile for the first time.
“He’s still very green and there is so much upside in him,” Logan told the NZ Herald.
“We haven’t needed to try him over a middle distance till now because he’s been very competitive over shorter distances. But his pedigree suggests he will stay and I can’t see any reason why he won’t.”
Comin’through meanwhile is a son of Bullbars who has won three of his eleven career starts to date and who, like Tavidream, backs up from multiple wins at the Ellerslie track.
The genuine staying type saluted in back-to-back 2100m races and so is well proven over the distance, making him the obvious danger again on the weekend.
“He’s beaten the older horses at his last two starts and that’s not easy for a three-year-old,” Logan said.
There is already plenty of attention on the New Zealand three-year-olds in early Queensland Derby betting at bookmarkers down under this season.
Mongolian Wolf, Jon Snow and Gingernuts are the three best in pre-nomination markets based on their autumn performances in Sydney.
The now Darren Weir-trained Kiwi expat Mongolian Wolf enjoyed a winning Australian debut on Easter Saturday in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m), while Jon Snow and Gingernuts both celebrated Group 1 victories.
Murray Baker’s Iffraaj colt Jon Snow took out the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill before his upset win in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
Gingernuts got the better of the subsequent ATC Derby winner Jon Snow when the pair ran first and third respectively in the Group 1 NZ Derby (2400m) before the Stephen Autridge-trained gelding took out the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on Golden Slipper Day.
He was the beaten ATC Derby favourite when fifth in the April 1 feature on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
Comin’through is also one of the best in early Queensland Derby odds, while Tavidream is currently a double-figure chance still in the first half of futures markets.
The 2017 Queensland Derby nominations close on Wednesday May 3, 2017.