Top Kiwi trainer Murray Baker is set to unveil the second weapon in his Queensland Derby double attack in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Baker has entered Ambitious Champion to make his Australian debut in the traditional Derby lead-up alongside stablemate Usainity who is already proven on Australian soil.
By Zed, the same horse who sired Usainity and Derby favourite Survived, Ambitious Champion brings consistent form across the Tasman.
Yet to finish worse than second from six trips to the track, the three-year-old gelding has won his last two starts.
At his last outing, at Te Rapa on April 27, he produced a fighting victory in his first step up to 2000m despite copping a nasty check which forced him wide turning for home.
Ambitious Champion is also nominated for the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m) but the Grand Prix Stakes is believed to be the preferred option.
The emerging stayer is likely to need to accumulate more prizemoney in order to gain a Derby start. If he fails to make either field this weekend Baker could be forced to look for a midweek race.
While Ambitious Champion is still an unknown proposition in Australia, Usainity is coming off a third-place finish in the Rough Habit Plate. That performance was preceded by a win in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate at Randwick.
The pair are two of 29 horses nominated for the Grand Prix Stakes, with other key entrants including Rough Habit winner Hawkspur and Group 1-winning filly Dear Demi.
A notable absentee from Grand Prix nominations is Survived who will have no further lead-up before the Derby.
The talented John Bary-trained stayer was second in the Rough Habit and is a clear $3.50 favourite for Queensland’s biggest three-year-old race.