Trainer Mick Kent doesn’t think the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday is a two horse war and gives his three year old Philippi a great chance to cause a boil over.
After winning the Group 2 $175,000 Emirates Park Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday, Kent is ready to step Philippi up to 2400m and take on star three year olds I’m A Dundeel and Fiveandahalfstar.
“I’m staying in the game for sure,” Kent said.
“It’s a great Derby, the best Derby in Australia. It is a very good race.”
Kent deliberately missed the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in the Spring which Fiveandahalfstar took out in great style with It’s A Dundeel labouring in seventh place.
“We planned to do it, we’re here, he won well yesterday and we want to test him at a mile and a half,” Kent said after Saturday’s Tulloch Stakes win.
“He may not have beaten much yesterday, but he ran through the line well. We’re keen to see him over a mile and a half.”
Top Kiwi three year old It’s A Dundeel has risen to the top of his game winning his last two starts at Group 1 against his own age while Fiveandahalfstar broke through for an overdue Autumn win in the Group 1 $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill last Saturday after putting together four seconds on the trot.
Fiveandahalfstar will be dropping back from weight for age company and is proven over the distance while It’s A Dundeel couldn’t have been more impressive winning by almost seven lengths in the Group 1 $500,000 M. J. Bale Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 30.
That win followed his victory in the Group 1 $550,000 Hyland Race Colours Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Warwick Farm two weeks prior and has jockey James McDonald full of praise for the three year old.
“It’s A Dundeel is the best horse I’ve ever ridden and he’ll only get better with racing. He will run the trip out and he’s got a great turn of foot – he can sprint like a miler,” McDonald said.
“Don’t get me wrong, Fiveandahalfstar will be awfully hard to beat on Saturday. So will Philippi. They’re two great stayers.”
McDonald knows exactly how hard it will be to beat Fiveandahalfstar after failing by a head when second on Silent Achiever in the BMW after the Anthony Cummings trained three year old had his own way in front.
“To be fair, I should have beaten Fiveandahalfstar on Saturday,” McDonald said.
“I was a long way back on Silent Achiever. She’s a very good mare, but It’s A Dundeel has a better turn of foot than Silent Achiever.”
It’s A Dundeel has got the nod from the market framers and has been installed the $1.50 favourite ahead of Fiveandahalfstar at $4.20 with Philippi the next in the betting at $9.