Leon Corstens is part of the rare group of people that know what it’s like to win the Victoria Derby and he feels he’s in a position to do it all over again in 2011.
When he looks back on that day with Helenus in 2002 it’s with the fondest of memories and as such stirs a desire inside him to claim a second.
“It was exhilarating when we won the Derby, I don’t think vie ever had a better feeling,” he said.
The horse he’ll be relying on in the 2011 Victoria Derby is Zabeelionaire, a lightly raced colt that’s been consistent if not spectacular.
He’s yet to win a race and has only placed once, however he’s been around the money when fourth in the Stutt Stakes and fifth in the Norman Robinson Stakes.
That, in combination with natural improvements leads Corstens to believe he could well be a winning chance comes tomorrow.
“I’m a lot happier this time going into this race then I was going into the Norman Robinson,” he said.
“I was a little bit disappointed with his run, I know he did get interfered with, but I would have liked him to finish off a little bit better than he did.”
There will also be a gear change for Zabeelionaire in an attempt to take full advantage of barrier five.
“I’ve added blinkers to him and I think they may just give him that little bit of confidence,” he said.
“I think going into the first corner you have to ride forward a little bit to maintain your position.
“Midfield during the race and one off the fence and I’ll be happy.”
There’s no doubt it’s a big ask trying to break a maiden at Group 1 level in a race like the Victoria Derby but the signs are there and the breeding shows he should get every bit of the 2500m.
“He’s as ready as we could ever got him,” Corstens said.