Promising stayer Nazir will follow a path to the 2015 Australian Derby at Royal Randwick on April 4 after he recorded a maiden race win in the Cellarbrations Handicap (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens yesterday.
Nazir was settled just behind the leading group in the early stages of the race by jockey James McDonald and he tracked into the race nicely one horse off the rail.
McDonald opted to take Nazir wide coming into the straight and he quickly made up ground before he finished over the top of his rivals to record a professional staying win from Low Places and Brazen Moss.
Nazir has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and he will contest the Group 1 event during The Championships, but co-trainer James Cummings is yet to decide what path the Mastercraftsman gelding will follow to the race.
Cummings told TVN that he is not keen to run Nazir in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and the three-year-old could take on the older horses in the Manion Quality Cup (2400m) on the same day.
“He’ll have one more run and I want it to be at a mile and a half,” Cummings said.
“He’s only had three starts and what he lacks in seasoning we’ll hope to make up next time so that he’s having his second run at 2400m in the Derby.”
McDonald has ridden Nazir in all three of his race starts to date and the leading hoop said that he was glad to deliver Team Cummings a win with the progressive gelding after he did not give him the best of rides in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 4.
“I owed them for this one because it wasn’t one of my best last start,” McDonald said.
“I took off a bit early and he got lost in front but this time he was a bit stronger and I was a little more patient.”
Team Cummings are chasing their sixth win in the Australian Derby after previously taking out the race with Belmura Lad (1977), Prolific (1984), Beau Zam (1988), Ivory’s Irish (1995) and Roman Emperor (2009).
Nazir is currently available at 2015 Australian Derby odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Sweynesse ($6) is a narrow favourite from Kermadec ($7), Preferment ($7) and Hampton Court ($9).