Supporters of the John O’Shea stable have chipped in early with Shards firming in the betting for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Shards opened at $19 with Ladbrokes.com.au when the final field for the Victoria Derby was released on Wednesday and within twenty-four hours had firmed into $13.
The John O’Shea trained three year old ran a much improved race when he was allowed to run to the front by jockey James McDonald before battling on gamely to be run second, beaten a length, to Jameka in the Group 2 $200,000 Dilmah Exceptional Teas Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley last week.
Shards also had plenty of supporters who halved his price in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 from $51 to $26 before he finished a well beaten thirteenth of sixteen behind Press Statement.
Hugh Bowman takes over from McDonald this week and might have to adopt the same tactics and send Shards forward from barrier eleven in the capacity sixteen horse field.
McDonald has elected to ride stablemate Etymology who is listed as a $17 chance for the Victoria Derby.
Etymology has been around the mark of late and last start with McDonald in the saddle, ran a solid third behind Sacred Eye and Victoria Derby rival Lizard Island in the Group 3 $500,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) at Caulfield on October 17.
The New Approach colt settled mid field at Caulfield and McDonald will have to try to slot into the middle of the field again in the run to the first turn from barrier nine.
The Mick Price trained Tarzino remains a clear cut favourite at $2.50 following is eye catching run when third in the Dilmah Exceptional Teas Vase.
Tarzino, with Victoria Derby jockey in the saddle settled at the back of the field and made up good ground down the short Moonee Valley straight to finish a length and three quarters behind Jameka.
Unbeaten Western Australian three year old Kia Ora Koutou is the only other runner in the Victoria Derby under the $10 mark at $8.
The Adam Durrant trained Kia Ora Koutou has visited the winner’s stall on all four occasions he was sent to the races with a maiden win at Pinjarra before completing a Belmont winning hat trick.
Durrant has given the Blackfriars gelding a winning barrier trial hit out at Lark Hill since his last start win in a 2200m BenchMark 72+ Handicap at Belmont on October 3.
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On the third line of betting is the Stuart Webb trained Get The Picture, firming in from $12 to $10 and Damien Oliver is certain to give the Excellent Art colt a cossie run just behind the pace from barrier five.
Lindsay Park co-trained David Hayes and Tom Dabernig have had a tremendous Melbourne Spring Carnival to date but their Victoria Derby entrant Extra Choice will need a ton of luck afrer Darwin the outside barrier in the capacity field.
Extra Choice threw himself into Victoria Derby calculations with a tough win in the Listed $120,000 Emsley Lodge Geelong Classic (2200m) at Geelong on October 21 and jockey Ben Melham will also be hoping the he gets a little bit of luck in the early stages.
Victoria Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.50 Tarzino, $8 Kia Ora Koutou, $10 Get The Picture $11 Lizard Island, $12 Extra Choice, $13 Pay Up Bro, Shards, $17 Etymology, $21 Man Of Choice, $26 Ayers Rock, Jadeer, Colonel Custer, $51 Iron Boss, Palace Tycoon, $71 Scadden’s Run, $101 Red Alto, Bullish Stock.
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