Trainer Peter Gelagotis is hoping Levendi’s stout staying blood will shine through and help him run out a solid 2400m when he takes on a strong field of three year olds on day one of The Championships in the Group 1 $2m Harrolds Australian Derby at Randwick on Saturday.
Levendi has found his best form heading into the Australian Derby with a second to Cliff’s Edge in the Group 2 $200,000 Hacer Group Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at The Valley on March 16 followed by a last start win in the Group 2 $200,000 Tricolours Racing & Syndications Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
The Pierro colt has some stout staying blood on his dam side with his grand dam Tully Thunder winning the 2002 Group 1 $250,000 Schweppes Australiasian Oaks (2000m) at Victoria Park in Adelaide before being beaten a nose by She’s Archie when runner up in the 2500m Group 1 $250,000 South Australian Oaks at Morphettville.
“His pedigree suggested there’s a chance he’d be a Derby horse,’’ Gelagotis told Racing New South Wales News Desk.
“When Manny (Gelagotis) purchased him it was as a miler/staying commodity and the fact he won as a two-year-old is a super bonus. The writing was on the wall early that he was a really good horse then you wait for the pedigree to kick in.
“His grand dam was an Australasian Oaks winner so the blood is there for him to stay. The style of horse he is you could see he was going to get a trip.
“In his earlier runs he’s shown a good turn of foot over short distances and I think all those things combined equate to a good horse that can sustain an 800m gallop under pressure.
“Any of the good horses I’ve ever had anything to do with that’s what they do.’’
Melbourne jockey Mark Zahra has been aboard Levendi at his last two starts and gets the ride again and the improving colt will be able to settle just behind the pace from barrier three in the capacity eighteen horse Australian Derby field.
Levendi has been marked at $11 for the Australian Derby with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Victoria Derby winner Ace High as the $5 favourite.
The David Payne trained Ace High has not been placed since winning the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on the first day of the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival and is coming off a last start fourth up sixth to D’Argento in the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 24.
Ace High has drawn next to Levendi in barrier two and will be ridden again by regular partner Tye Angland.