Hauraki has been backed into 2015 Australian Derby odds of $3.50 and the promising colt has been easily the best-backed runner in betting markets for the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Hauraki stamped himself as an Australian Derby contender when he recorded a dominant victory in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens last weekend and there has been consistent money for the Godolphin galloper in the past 24 hours.
The Reset colt made a very slow start to his autumn preparation and failed to fire in his two race starts in Melbourne, but Godolphin Australian boss Henry Plumptre told Racing Ahead that the three-year-old has returned to his true form heading into the 2015 Australian Derby.
“We were pretty perplexed when we took him to Melbourne and he didn’t fire a shot down there,” Plumptre said.
“He had a nothing run at Sandown and another nothing run at Flemington, where he really didn’t run on at all and the reports back from the jockey was that he was on the wrong leg.
“John brought him back to Sydney, had a good look at him for about a week or so and said that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the horse and we may as well roll the dice and push forward with him to the Tulloch.
“The run in the Tulloch was phenomenal and that really took us back to the spring when we really thought he might be a Derby contender and it was a relief as much as anything else to see him finish the race off like that.”
Hauraki will be stepping up to 2400 metres for the first time in the Australian Derby and has raced exclusively on good tracks during his racing career to date, but Plumptre is confident that the step-up to 2400 metres as well as the likely soft track will not be an issue for the Tulloch Stakes winner this weekend.
“There are a couple of members in that family that went alright in easing going,” Plumptre said
“Kidnapped didn’t mind it and the trip I don’t think will matter that much.
“They generally tend to turn out of the Randwick straight and drop the bit down the back, so I think that he will get breathing space and I am pretty confident that he is going to run the trip out alright, but there are other horses in the race.”
Preferment is currently available at 2015 Australian Derby odds of $3.40 with Ladbrokes and he remains a narrow favourite from Hauraki ($3.50), Volkstok’N’Barrell ($4.60) and Mongolian Khan ($8.50).