Trainer Ciaron Maher admits that his Crown Oaks winner Jameka will need plenty of luck from a wide barrier if she is going to win the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
Jameka has drawn barrier twelve in the thirteen horse field and Maher knows that she will have to get all the breaks if she is going to turn the tables on the odds on favourite Tarzino.
“She will need a bit of luck from out in barrier twelve but he has drawn well in six, so it probably maps better for him, but very happy with her going her going in and I think she shouldn’t be far away,” Maher told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
Jameka has finished behind Tarzino at their last two meetings in the lead up to the Australian Derby and Maher is hoping his filly gets the breaks to reverse the results.
The Mick Price trained Tarzino scored a comfortable win in the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 19 when Jameka ran third.
At their previous start Jameka found the line hard when fifth in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5 when Tarzino was a nose second to Palentino.
But Jamkea did have the edge on Tarzino when they meet in the Spring with Maher’s filly winning the Group 2 $200,000 Dilmah Exceptional Teas Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley with Tarzino filling third spot.
“She has been very competitive with him all the way along. She did all the work the last time they meet in the (Rosehill) Guineas, he had all the favours and he won quite well,” Maher said.
“She won quite well in the Spring in The Vase when she had all the favours so I don’t know if there is a whole lot between them.”
Maher had thoughts of running Jamkea in last Saturday’s Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill but scratched her to save her for the Australian Derby this week and then back her up in the Group 1 $1m James Boags Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’ seven days later.
“We had always planned to go to the Derby, it was nice timing and the track looks like it is not going to be too rain affected, so that was my only concern when I wanted to back her up in the Oaks,” Maher said.
Maher is confident that Jameka will be hitting her peak and the step up the 2400m is what she is looking for.
“She is sort of hitting peak fitness now and out to this trip on a big track,” Maher said.
“I thought she was pretty right heading into the Guineas and raced accordingly.”
“I don’t think she has lost anything at all and her work was really sharp on Tuesday and as in the Spring she improved every run and I think this prep is shaping very similar.”
“These are her two targets, the Derby and the Oaks so I am rapt with the way she has come up and hopefully we can turn the tables but if not we will line up the following week.”
Damien Oliver has been Jameka’s regular rider since the Spring last year and was aboard when she raced on the pace to win the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington and Maher expects the champion jockey to have her close to the leading division again.
“She has only raced over the 2500m before and she ended up leading, but they didn’t go a very strong gallop and then when raced in The Vase she was sort of up in the first few so I think naturally she sort of puts herself in the first half dozen when you get up over these trips,” Maher said.
“But we will do a bit work on the race today and see how the track is racing but on face value I think she will be thereabouts somewhere.”
Tarzino heads the Australian Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au at $1.90 with Jameka sharing the second line of betting at $6.50 with the John O’Shea trained Tally.
Australian Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.90 Tarzino, $6.50 Tally, Jameka, $10 Vanburgh, $16 Torgersen, What’s The Story, $17 Etymology, $31 Sovereign Nation, $41 Tavago, $51 Gold Ambition, $71 Crosley Hotshot, $201 Oh So Splendid, Alfden.