Mornington trainer Pat Carey is chasing his second win in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday with the outsider of the field Bikila.
Carey won the 2012 Australian Derby with $15 chance Ethiopia and even though Bikila heads to Randwick with inferior form to Ethiopia, the ever confident trainer believes the Street Sense gelding could cause an upset.
“He is fit and well and he’ll take his chances,” Carey told the Herald Sun.
Ethiopia went to the Australian Derby on the back of a second in the Group 2 $200,000 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley while Bikila could only manage to finish a midfield seventh in this year’s version on March 20.
Carey had nominated Bikila for the $80,000 Super Vobis Three-Year-Old Handicap over 2000m at Caulfield this Saturday in case his missed gaining a start in the Australian Derby but with only ten final acceptors he had to go to Randwick.
“It’s a small field and sometimes they struggle to get full fields in those races,” Carey said.
“He would have gone to Caulfield, but we always suspected we’d get a run with him in the Derby.”
“This year there just seems to be less of them around. Who knows — a small field might mean a year of opportunity.”
“He seems like a tough horse and we thought his run was a little bit better than it looked in the Alister Clark, therefore we tried to keep him on track to go to Sydney for the Derby.”
Bikila scored his maiden win two runs back over 1600m at Sandown and will be stepping up to 2400m at Group 1 level at only his fifth career start with Chad Schofield to ride.
Bookmakers are giving Bikila little chance of winning the Australian Derby and he is listed as a $201 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Chris Waller trained Victoria Derby winner Preferment heads the betting at $3.50 just ahead of last week’s Tulloch Stakes winner Hauraki at $3.70.
Australian Derby market order with Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.50 Preferment, $3.70 Hauraki, $4.60 Volkstok’N’Barrell, $8 Mongolian Khan, $11 Omeros, $13 Ruling Dynasty, $16 Quick Strike, $26 Hampton Court, $101 Brouge, $201 Bikila.