Leading form analyst Adam Blencowe has Vilanova on top of his 2014 Queensland Derby tips and is confident that the Chris Waller-trained galloper will prove tough to beat if he is able to replicate his impressive performance in the Grand Prix Stakes.
Vilanova performed inconsistently during his autumn campaign, which was highlighted by a win in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22, but stamped himself as a leading contender for the Queensland Derby with a dominant three and a half lengths win in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on May 24.
Blencowe admits that Vilanova has not been particularly consistent during his racing career to date, but told RSN yesterday that it is hard to see the son of Commands being beaten if he produces a similar effort in the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm this afternoon.
“Just on the base form of things, Vilanova came out and slammed them in the Grand Prix and won by three and a half,” Blencowe said.
“Based on that he has to be favourite on the bare form of things, but the big query there is that he was double figures going into the race and had only won one of his 15 or 16 starts before that.
“He might not be the most reliable customer, but it was certainly a dominant win there and if he is able to repeat that in what looks like a pretty weak Derby he will be pretty hard to beat.”
Rock Diva was available at Queensland Derby odds of $11 after the barrier draw was conducted, but has been one of the best-backed runners in the past 24 hours and is now into a quote of $8.
The Lucky Unicorn filly flashed home late from the tail of the field to finish fourth behind Tinto in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm last weekend and Blencowe believes that she is the clear danger to Vilanova.
“I think that Rock Diva is second on the numbers and she is going to run a pretty big race,”
“Fillies have a good record in the race and I think that she will run really well.
“I think that they are the two to stand out on the numbers.”
Vilanova is currently available at 2014 Queensland Derby odds of $4.80 and is a narrow favourite from Pinstripe Lane ($5), Elusive Runner ($6), Rock Diva ($8) and Telepathic ($9.50).