Complete 2017 South Australian Derby Form Guide

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The 2017 South Australian Derby Form Guide is a must for novice punters and racing fans ahead of Saturday’s feature race for three-year-olds at Morphettville Racecourse.

Odeon is set to start favourite in Saturday's Group 1 South Australian Derby at Morphettville. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Odeon is set to start favourite in Saturday’s Group 1 South Australian Derby at Morphettville. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

A talent-rich and capacity South Australian Derby field has been confirmed, as well as four emergencies and we have analysed every horse in detail to help you find the SA Derby winner.

Odeon remains a firm favourite in 2017 South Australian Derby betting markets, but is sure to face plenty of resistance in the likes of Ruthven, Netherfield and Volatile Mix.


The Ciaron Maher-trained Ruthven has found outstanding form this season and should prove extremely tough to beat in the South Australian Derby, if he can overcome his wide draw. Clearly enjoying a step up in distance when placing second behind Hardham in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m), the Domesday colt was at his best when fourth in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on Day 2 of The Championships and was last seen placing second in the Vobis Gold Heath. In-form hoop Mark Zahra will be back aboard Ruthven this weekend.

Waging War

Talented local Waging War is seeking a fourth-consecutive race win on Saturday and is a live chance of continuing his run of form through the South Australian Derby. Taking a couple of runs to find form upon resuming in March, the Rebel Raider gelding has since been unstoppable; winning both the Hyland Sportswear BM60 (1607m) and Remembering Beersheba Day BM64 (2206m) by three lengths each, before making a successful transition to black type company with a smart win in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2030m) last weekend. Waging War may have to use some energy early to find the pace from barrier 12.

Grand Chancellor

Grand Chancellor has drawn into the SA Derby field in barrier 2, has found strong and competitive form this time in and will be partnered by positive hoop Noel Callow once more on Saturday. Failing to finish worse than second at his four most-recent appearances, Grand Chancellor savaged the line to win the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) on April 8th before working to the line well for second in the Chairman’s Stakes a fortnight ago.


Anaheim has been knocking on the door through recent seasons and the three-year-old could be offered his best chance of winning at the highest level when he takes his position in the 2017 South Australian Derby field. Capping a smart 2016 campaign with a maiden black type win in the Listed TV Stakes (1800m), the Fastnet Rock colt resumed this time for third in a Sandown minor before savaging the line for fifth in the capacity and talent-rich Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m). Progressing to fourth in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) before failing to handle the heavy conditions in the Australian Derby, Anaheim placed mid-pack amongst open company and over 2000m a fortnight ago and should enjoy a step up in distance on Saturday.


Odeon is another horse who has found terrific form this season and is set to start the favourite in 2017 South Australian Derby betting. The Zacinto gelding showed plenty of promise through his debut campaign in 2016, but was outclassed on the two occasions he was sent off in black type company. Having returned to the races for consecutive wins in a pair of Victorian minors upon resuming this time, Odeon made a smart transition to black type company when second in the Port Adelaide Guineas and was last seen running out a comfortable winner in the Sky High Mount Dandenong BM84 (2000m) on April 29th.


Dornier has followed the same path and found the same form that Cool Chap registered ahead of his third placing in last year’s SA Derby and is arguably facing an easier field that the Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained stayer. Steadily building to the task this time, the Artie Schiller gelding led from start to finish in the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) last time out and maintained to the line well to claim a smart win. Dornier should be able to find a good position close to the speed from barrier 8 and is arguably over the odds at his current quote.


The Danny O’Brien-trained Lycurgus is another horse who has found good form this time and if you forgive his most-recent effort, he is probably over the odds at his current quote.  Posting a credible three wins and two minors through his fourteen career starts, the Star Witness gelding stormed home to win the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) with ease on April 8th, but failed to fire when tenth in the Sky High Mt Dandenong BM84 a fortnight ago. Lycurgus is drawn well in barrier 6 and will be partnered by in-form hoop Katelyn Mallyon.


Casta has found form in perfect time for the SA Derby, but the gelding faces a big step up in class into Group 1 company and is probably only a place chance at best. After finishing well off the pace in the Port Adelaide Guineas, the son of Dane Shadow has since run second in the Sky Heights Stayer Series BM64 (2060m) and won the Super Food Services BM64 (2200m) on April 27th.

Gun Guru

A stable mate to Waging War, Gun Guru is another local who appears as though he will relish a step up in distance this weekend, but may face too great a task at the company. Beating only two runners home in the Port Adelaide Guineas, the Al Maher gelding placed second in the Lest We Forget BM64 (2057m) on April 26th before returning to winning form in the Coopers BM64 (2224m) on May 3rd.

Docker Pav

Docker Pav is seeking a third-consecutive win when he takes his position in the SA Derby field and will contest the race off a brief freshen-up. This is another horse that is yet to be tested at black type company and his fresh form suggests that this is probably a bridge too far, this early in his racing career.

He Ekscels

Victorian raider He Ekscels is yet to contest a race at a distance of more than 1800m, but he has form around some notable runners and is not without a chance of saluting at odds. Having finished third at his first three starts upon resuming this time, the Ekraar gelding stormed home to win the Ern Jensen Funerals Handicap (1800m) by close to four lengths on April 29th, and his breeding suggests that this could be his perfect race.

Volatile Mix

Darren Weir has a big opinion of Volatile Mix, knows how to place horses perfectly and appears to have the horse primed for a big run in the South Australian Derby; a race he won in 2016 with Howard Be Thy Name. Arriving in South Australia for Seventh in the Porte Adelaide Guineas, the Pentire gelding worked to the line well to finish fourth in the Chairman’s Stakes last time and appears as though he is looking for more distance.


Netherfield appears to have plenty of upside and his position towards the top of South Australian Derby betting could be justified if he can overcome and awkward draw in barrier 13. Netherfield ran second in the Ladbrokes InfoHub BM70 (1600m) on March 15th and repeated that effort in another Sandown minor under the same conditions on April 17th, before running a gallant fourth in the Chairman’s Stakes last time out. Champion jockey Damien Oliver will take the ride on the gelding this weekend.

Savvy Dreams

Savvy Dreams the first of three fillies confirmed in the SA Derby field, Savvy Dreams is sure to take plenty of benefit into Saturday’s feature race and has form around several outstanding horses. The wide and awkward barrier 19 is an issue, but Savvy Dreams is more than capable at the class and finished third behind Bonneval in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) on March 18th. The filly can be forgiven for her first run in Australia when tenth in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m) and she is weighted well at only 54.5kgs.


Sedanzer placed fifth in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) last weekend and is a live chance in the South Australian Derby, at good odds. Having won the Mercedes-Benz Newcastle BM67 (1600m) on March 29th, the Sebring filly ran on for a credible forth in the Auraria Stakes in what was her only other start prior to the Australasian Oaks. Consistent hoop Stephen Baster will take the ride on the filly from the rails draw.

Wheal Leisure

Wheal Leisure was last seen finishing fifth in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on Day 2 of The Championships and has reportedly relished a freshen-up, ahead of the SA Derby. The Artie Schiller filly displayed plenty of ability during her debut campaign in summer and received a freshen-up after she ran third in the Listed Tasmanian Oaks (2100m) on February 19th. She’s a chance of finishing in the first five if she can overcome her wide draw (barrier 17).

Rockstar Rebel

The first emergency to take a position in the South Australian Derby field, Rockstar Rebel has steadily built to the task this time in and is a chance, if he gains a start., the Rebel Raider colt placed fifth amongst classy company in the Vobis Gold Heath (2000m) on April 22nd, before running a close second in the Isuzu BM64 (2200m) at Bendigo last weekend.

Fontein Lad – SCRATCHED 

Fontein Lad is outclassed by a lot of the SA Derby field and probably can’t win the race, if he gains a start. The son of Turffontein finished towards the tail of the field in the Galilee Series Final and was last seen placing second, after leading in the Superior Food Services BM64.


Adatto has found competitive condition since transferring to the care of Lee and Anthony Freedman and is probably unlucky not to have made the field. Drawn well and with Craig Williams aboard if he gains a start, the Sufficient gelding ran on well for sixth in the Chairman’s Stakes.


Bedford is bred to stay and if he somehow manages a start, will probably find his best form at the 2500m of the South Australian Derby. By prominent sire Tavistock, Bedford placed second in the Ladbrokes Cash In BM70 (2100m) last time out on April 26th.

About The Author

Jared Timms

Jared graduated with a journalism degree in 2011. He is a keen sports fan and has enjoyed many accolades for his lively writing style and comprehensive coverage of major sporting events and horse racing. Today, you can find Jared cheering on his beloved Manchester City with a beer in hand.


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