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A start in the Australian Derby is in the pipeline for Valiant Spirit after his all the way win in the Group 2 $200,000 Heritage Finance Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield today.

Valiant Spirit, above, scored an upset win in the 2018 Autumn Classic at Caulfield. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Valiant Spirit, above, scored an upset win in the 2018 Autumn Classic at Caulfield. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Winning jockey Regan Bayliss was not going to leave anybody wondering after he sent the $16 outsider straight to the front and none of the remaining twelve runners were able to peg him back.

Winning trainer Daniel Williams said he was quietly confident heading to Caulfield today even though Valiant Spirit was stepping up from a last start second in a 1600m BenchMark 70 Handicap at The Valley on February 9.

Williams wasn’t surprised to see Bayliss take the Duporth three year old to the front and is now considering a start in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 7.

“It is the only thing he knows how to do. He just likes to bowl along in front and if he is rated right he is strong at the finish,” Williams said.

“He is just an awesome galloper, he loves what he does and we saw that today.”

“He has been feeling really well and 2000m is probably his best trip, but the 1800m today was just sharp enough for him. I thought he was a good chance.”

“It has always been the plan to go to a Derby and I guess on that we are looking at Sydney.”

“We will just see how he pulls up. There are a couple of routes to get there obviously.”

Race favourite Astoria ($3.40) settled in the second half of the field and was doing his best work at the finish to run second while Mr So And So ($5) filled third position.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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