Race favourite Kia Ora Koutou will line up in peak condition in Saturday’s Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes W.A.T.C. Derby (2400m) at Ascot in Perth according to trainer Adam Durrant.
The premiership winning Perth trainer is confident that the has timed Kia Ora Koutou’s Derby preparation to perfection as he steps up to the 2400m for the first time this campaign.
“This is what he was set for, so hopefully we’ve got it right,” Durrant told The Western Australian.
“Everything’s good so far. He’ll have his final two gallops on Tuesday and Thursday.”
Durrant has no worries about the Blackfriars three year old handling the extra distance after he finished strongly at the end of the 2200m when runner up to Derby rival Who Dat Singa in the Listed $100,000 Schweppes Melvista Stakes (2200m) at Ascot on April 2.
Kia Ora Koutou also won over 2200m in restricted grade at Belmont last October before being tested over the distance during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival when he ran third to Tarzino in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby over 2500m at Flemington.
“Apart from the Oaks winner, he’s the only one proven over that sort of distance. It would be nice to win a derby,” Durrant said.
Kia Ora Koutou will be lining up for his fourth Autumn Carnival run in the Derby and prior to his last start second in the Melvista Stakes ran a first up fifth in the Listed $100,000 Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) on March 5 followed by a third in the Listed $100,000 Schweppes J.C. Roberts Stakes (1800m) a fortnight later at Ascot.
Kia Ora Koutou has drawn the inside barrier in the twelve horse W.A.T.C. Derby field and will be ridden again by regular partner Joseph Azzopardi.
The W.A.T.C. Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au has Kai Ora Koutou as the $2.10 favourite ahead off Who Dat Singa at $4 and Arcadia Dream at $6.50.
W.A.T.C. Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.10 Kia Ora Koutou, $4 Who Dat Singa, $6.50 Arcadia Dream, $7 Heart Starter, $8 First Impressions, $26 Cappo D’Oro, Culverin, $34 Spirit Bird, $101 Lolong, $126 Pushin’ Shapes, $151 Gauged, $201 Big Red Costa.