Tough staying three year old Etymology will have to overcome a wide barrier if he is to win the Group 1 $600,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The John O’Shea trained Etymology will be lining up in his fourth Derby, and gets his last chance to collect the winning trophy in the final Derby of the season.
Etymology finished fifth in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 2 and carried the Godolphin royal blue into second place twice.
The New Approach colt was runner up to Tarzino in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival and heads to Brisbane on the back of a last start second to Queensland Derby favourite Howard Be Thy Name in the Group 1 $500,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 14.
Number one stable rider James McDonald is back aboard Etymology, replacing Ben Melham, and O’Shea anticipates that he will let the colt slide forward from the outside barrier in the eighteen horse field.
“He’s very fit and we know he can run a strong 2400m. The barrier’s going to be tricky but he’s capable of taking a forward position,” O’Shea said.
Despite drawing the extreme outside barrier, O’Shea is confident that Etymology will be very competitive and is happy with the way he has settled into his new surroundings in Queensland.
“The form around him is well exposed, Howard Be Thy Name had the better of him in Adelaide and has drawn well here,” O’Shea said.
“But our colt has settled in well in Queensland and if he can get some cover and be produced at the right time, he’s a proven stayer and I expect him to run well.”
O’Shea will also saddle up Eschiele who was running on at the of the 2200m when fourth to Mackintosh in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben on May 28.
“I thought he finished off really well last time and he was very consistent in Sydney before going up north. He’s drawn well and it looks like the trip will suit,” O’Shea said.
Etymology has come in for some significant support at Ladbrokes.com.au since the final field was declared on Wednesday and has firmed in from $26 to be well in contention at $9.50 while Eschiele is marked at $7.50.
The Darren Weir trained Howard Be Thy Name heads the Queensland Derby market order at $4.40 ahead of the in-form Mackintosh at $4.50 with the Gold Coast trained Eagle Way close to the top two at $5.50.
Queensland Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.40 Howard Be Thy Name, $4.50 Mackintosh, $5.50 Eagle Way, $7.50 Eschiele, $9.50 Etymology, Encosta Line, $19 I’m Belucci, $21 Cylinder Beach, $26 Brazen, Rodrico, $31 Multifacets, $51 Red Alto, Admiral Jello, Harvard, $91 Snapper, Maven Wiz, $101 Star Zone, $201 Slaughter Bay.