The 2013 Victoria Derby could see back to back upset results from the Anthony Cummings’ stable if his fancied runner Drago can stage a form reversal at Flemington on Saturday.
Cummings’ little known three year old Fiveandahalfstar caused a huge boilover in last year’s Spring Carnival Classic scoring at $41 from $6 chance Super Cool with the $2.70 favourite It’s A Dundeel labouring in seventh place.
And Cummings is looking for a turnaround in form for Drago and has not given up hope of the Danehill Dancer colt winning this year’s Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m).
Cummings explains that Drago had things go against him when he was a fading fifth to Savvy Nature in the Group 2 $220,000 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley last week and is looking for a change of luck at Flemington.
“He walked out of the gates, then got a dig in the ribs, took off and went through the field. He was going too quick into the first turn and couldn’t get around it,” Cummings told The Courier-Mail.
“From there the dye was pretty much cast. At that speed, you don’t win. Yet he was still there at the turn and still gave a kick. You have to be happy with the horse’s performance.
“He hasn’t disappointed me at all. I’ve been really pleased with all of his runs and got close to what I expected of him each time.
“He’s been the favourite for six months and now he’s a $31 chance. Well it’s the same horse and he’s still looking for his 2500m and he’s still in good form.”
Drago was one time listed among the early favourites for the Victoria Derby after Cummings was talking up the colt at the beginning of his three year old campaign.
After finishing ninth to Zoustar in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 14, Drago ran third to his Derby opponents Complacent and Savvy Nature in the Group 3 $200,000 PJ’s Irish Pub Parramatta Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 28.
Drago then missed a place at his next two starts with a seventh to Complacent in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 12 before his Moonee Valley fifth.
Damien Oliver, who rode Fiveandahalfstar in his Victoria Derby win last year will have to ride another inspired race on Drago who will jump from the outside of the sixteen horse field.
Cummings has also not given up hope on Thunder Fantasy who is also one of the roughies in the Victoria Derby at $41 after finishing ninth in the Spring Champion Stakes.
“Off a bad draw in the Champion Stakes he got back and ran on well in what was a leader dominated race.
“He settled into Melbourne really well and looks great. The gallop last week was excellent, the gallop (Tuesday) was excellent and he goes in as a live chance.”
The John O’Shea trained Savvy Nature is holding on to the top spot in the Victoria Derby market order at $4.60 while one time favourite Complacent continues to ease and is now marked as a $6 chance alongside of the Norman Robinson Stakes winner Polanksi.
Complacent’s stablemate San Diego is solid at $7 with Spring Champion Stakes runner up Criterion next in the betting at $10.