Cranbourne trainer Robbie Laing will back up last Saturday’s surprise Morphettville winner Heaven’s Riches in the Group 1 $500,000 Centrebet South Australian Derby (2500m) on Saturday.
Laing had four runners in the Group 3 $115,000 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m), the traditional lead up for the Derby, all at long odds with Heaven’s Riches winning at $151 with Michael Walker in the saddle.
“I gave three of them away and I thought, ‘where’s Heaven’s Riches?’ and I looked to the outside and he was coming home,” Laing said.
“He sticks really well, gets back and he charges home.”
Walker, who was having his first ride on the Danerich colt in the Chairman’s Stakes will again be aboard the three year old in the Derby knowing that the 2500m won’t be a problem after finishing strongly at the end of the 2000m last Saturday.
Heaven’s Riches has come up with barrier ten in the capacity field of sixteen while stable mate Rock Musician is third emergency with barrier six.
With only a Maiden win at Sale to his credit going into last week’s Chairman’s Stakes, Heaven’s Riches showed his improvement with the step up in distance and with Walker giving him plenty of time settle midfield, stormed down the outside at big odds to beat Alcohol and odds on favourite Cornell.
Heaven’s Riches will again be lining up against Alcohol and the Anthony Freedman trainer Cornell who had won his last two starts at Sandown and Morphettville leading into the Chairman’s Stakes.
Anthony Cummings will saddle up Strike The Stars in the Derby after finishing fourth to Ethiopia in the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 14.
Cummings won the race last year with Shadows In The Sun and is hopeful that Strike The Stars can repeat the feat after pulling up well after his Australian Derby start.
“His work since the Derby has been excellent,” Cummings said.
“He recovers extremely well from his races and I think he has to be among the top three chances.”
“The only run he’s had in the reverse direction was probably the best run of his preparation so I’m confident on that score.”
Dwayne Dunn will be the new rider on the Savabeel three year old, replaing Craig Williams who has taken up a riding stint in Japan over the next couple of months.
Cummings plans to keep Strike The Stars racing after Saturday’s Derby and will be heading to Brisbane for a start in the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
Mike Moroney is hoping for a return to form for Sabrage who failed to beat a runner home in the Australian Derby.
Early favourite for the Derby is the Leon Corstens trained Zabeelionaire who is a winner of two races including his last start win over Chieftain Jack in a 2000m three year old Handicap at Caulfield on April 21.