Unbeaten Perth three year old Kia Oro Koutou is primed to fly the flag for Western Australian when he lines up in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Leading Perth trainer Adam Durrant is confident he can return to the West with the Victoria Derby trophy as 2004 winner Plastered did.
Perth trainer Lindsay Smith brought the well performed Plastered to Melbourne on the back on some good home town form and was able to win the $150,000 Group 2 AAMI Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley before scoring a last to first win over Cox Plate victor Savabeel in the Victoria Derby.
“Their form is basically identical coming over, the only difference is my bloke is unbeaten. Plastered was beaten three times early in his career,” Durrant told The Courier-Mail.
“If you go back over the years, (the Derby distance) is an unknown for most of the three-year-olds. You’re not running into a Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate field, so I’ve always got it in the back of my mind to target that race.
“I go there very confident. I didn’t come all this way for nothing. I’m a bad loser and if I didn’t think I could win, there’s a $500,000 race in Perth in a few weeks I could have opted for.”
As well as being confident for a top result on Saturday, Durrant has a very high opinion of Kia Oro Koutou and expects the Blackfriars gelding to develop into a top line stayer in the future.
“You can never be too confident or cocky, but you have to have confidence in your horse and I certainly have that,” Durrant said.
“He’s a horse I expect to go onto better things, regardless of the result we get on Saturday. Hopefully we can get away with it Saturday and kick it off.”
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Kia Oro Koutou has arrived in Melbourne with a record showing four wins from four race starts.
Durrant took Kia Oro Koutou to Pinjarra for a debut win in the a 1400m Maiden at the end of August before collecting a Belmont winning hat trick, his latest in a 2200m BenchMark 72+ Handicap on October 3.
Top Perth jockey Joseph Azzopardi has been aboard Kia Oro Koutou in all his four wins and has travelled across to the East to try to keep the winning momentum going.
Kia Oro Koutou’s pattern of racing is to settle back in the field and Azzopardi will be able to put him to sleep in the early and middle stages from barrier one.
Melbourne’s forecast for the Saturday is for showers and a possible storm, but if the rain arrives it should not bother Kia Oro Koutou who has won on a soft track at Belmont.
Victoria Derby betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Kia Oro Koutou at $7.50, firming in from $8 while the Mike Price trained Tarzino dominates the market order at $2.50 with number one saddlecloth holder Lizard Island marked at $10.
Victoria Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.50 Tarzino, $7.50 Kia Ora Koutou, $10 Lizard Island, $11 Get The Picture, $12 Extra Choice, $14 Pay Up Bro, Shards, $17 Etymology, $21 Man Of Choice, $26 Ayers Rock, Jadeer, $31 Colonel Custer, $51 Iron Boss, $61 Palace Tycoon, $71 Scadden’s Run, $101 Red Alto, Bullish Stock.
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