Melbourne gelding Ali Vital can book a spot in Michael Moroney’s Queensland Derby team with a strong performance at Doomben today.
The lightly-raced galloper will contest the Ascend Sales three-years-old handicap (2200m) and is likely to need victory to secure a spot in Saturday week’s three-year-old feature.
With just $17,575 in prizemoney from five career starts to date, the son of Yamanin Vital sits well down in the Derby ballot.
But some promising gallops in the right-handed direction have provided Moroney with confidence he can earn his shot at Group 1 level in his Queensland debut today.
“It is his first run the right-handed way but his gallops here have been good,” Moroney said on his website.
“It is a small but even field.”
The Flemington trainer said he is pleased with how the emerging stayer has settled in to his new surrounds and believes he can build on the promise shown early in his career.
At his most recent outing, at Warrnambool on May 1, Ali Vital gave an insight to his staying potential with a two-length victory over 1700m.
That win came on a Slow 6 track and he is likely to face similar conditions at Doomben. With the way Queensland’s weather has been so far this carnival and Eagle Farm’s inability to hold any sort of water, there is a good chance he will also get favourable conditions if he makes it to the Derby.
Today he will be ridden by top Queensland jockey Chris Munce who will be on a high after getting the all-clear in his battle with throat cancer earlier this week.
Moroney already has one genuine Derby contender, with Rhythm To Spare considered a $5.50 chance after running second to Hawkspur in Saturday’s Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes.