The 2014 Victoria Derby barrier draw has been completed and clear favourite Hampton Court is set to jump from barrier 11 in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Hampton Court was ridden close to the speed when he finished fourth in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on September 17 and took out the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4, but he was settled towards the tail of the field by jockey Josh Parr when he scored an upset win in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a week later.
Kerrin McEvoy has been booked to ride Hampton Court in the Victoria Derby and he will have plenty of options on where to position the Redoute’s Choice colt in the early stages of the race; with trainer Gai Waterhouse refusing to commit to a game plan with the three-year-old when asked at the barrier draw this morning.
Moonovermanhattan was on the third line of betting when the 2014 Victoria Derby field was released this morning, but the Mick Price-trained galloper could drift in betting after he drew next to Hampton Court in barrier 12.
The son of Manhattan Rain has shown a degree of tactical versatility during his racing career to date and Price elected to instruct jockey Craig Newitt to take up a forward position on the three-year-old in the early stages of the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday, which proved to be a winning move.
Progressive galloper Firehouse Rock (barrier ten), UCI Stakes winner Magicool (barrier 16), Geelong Classic winner Nozomi (barrier 13), Brent Stanley-trained Royal Standing (barrier 15) and The Mighty Jrod (barrier 17) will also jump from the second half of the Victoria Derby field on Saturday.
The big winners from the 2014 Victoria Derby barrier draw were promising maidens Preferment and Atmosphere.
Chris Waller-trained Preferment will likely be able to take a position just worse than midfield when he jumps from barrier six and connections will simply be hoping that the Zabeel colt can find clear running in the final stages of the race.
Atmosphere will jump from barrier four and the Savabeel gelding is another horse that is likely to be settled in the middle of the Victoria Derby field.
The three-year-old is still chasing a maiden race win, but hit the line strongly in both the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 4 and the Moonee Valley Vase to suggest he will relish the step-up to 2500 metres.
Western Australian galloper Prentice (barrier eight), Geelong Classic failure Lotion (barrier five), Ciaron Maher-trained Light Up Manhattan (barrier seven), the promising Bondeiger (barrier one), Godolphin galloper Gouldian (barrier three) and the lightly-raced San Padre (barrier two) also fared well in the 2014 Victoria Derby barrier draw.