Spring Champion Stakes winner Hampton Court has been included in the 2014 Victoria Derby first acceptances that were released by Racing Victoria this afternoon.
There were reports last week that connections wanted to run Hampton Court in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday, but they opted against paying the late entry fee to get the Redoute’s Choice colt into the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship and he has been set for the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 1.
Hampton Court started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival with a eighth place finish in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 16 and finished third behind Sweynesse and First Seal in the Early Quaddie Handicap (1400m) at the same venue on August 30.
The three-year-old finished a credible fourth in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on September 17 before he returned to winning form in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 and scored an upset win in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a week later.
Monaco Consul (2009) and Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995) are the only horses in the past 30 years to complete the Spring Champion Stakes/Victoria Derby double, but Complacent finished second behind Polanski in the Victoria Derby last year after taking out the Spring Champion Stakes.
The Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) was taken out by tough filly Fontein Ruby, but the race is still set to be a key form guide to the Victoria Derby.
Firehouse Rock, Light Up Manhattan, Magicool, Bachman and Cuban Fighter all battled home fairly in the Caulfield Classic and they were included in the Victoria Derby first acceptances.
Zululand currently sits second in the 2014 Victoria Derby order of entry and is set to press on to the Group 1 event, but would need to improve significantly after missing the placings in all five of his race starts this preparation including a ninth place finish in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11.
Other key horses in the 2014 Victoria Derby first acceptances included Kiwi colt Atmosphere, Chris Waller-trained Preferment, last start winner Bondeiger, New Zealand-based gelding Prentice, Mick Price-trained Moonovermanhattan and Hill Smith Stakes winner Lotion.