There were no real surprises in the 2013 Victoria Derby nominations that were released by Racing Victoria today, with all the leading chances still on track to contest the $1.5 million race.
Leading Melbourne trainer David Hayes, who has won the Victoria Derby on two previous occasions, is the most represented trainer in the initial nominations and could have up to nine runners in the final field for the Group 1 event.
Hayes’ Victoria Derby charge is set to be led by Fast ‘N’ Rocking who will head to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) after he finished tenth in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400); while Empire Rock, Great Esteem, Honey Steel’s Gold, Moosem, Razzle Dazzle Rock, Super Fun, Surging Wave and Tips And Beers were also included in the nominations.
Peter Moody has won a number of Group 1 races all over Australia and is giving himself every opportunity to add a Victoria Derby win to his glowing list of achievements by including Cadillac Mountain, Crime Fighter, Dissident, Mutajara, Southern Meteor, Stamina, Storm Approach and Weinholt in the nominations.
Darley trainer Peter Snowden is another trainer still chasing his first victory in the Victoria Derby but could have a number of leading chances in the 2013 edition of the race.
Long John stamped himself as contender for the race with his impressive win in the Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 7 and San Diego proved his staying credentials with a fast-finishing effort in the same race.
The 2012 Victoria Derby was won by the Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar and he has a good chance to become the first trainer in the last thirty years to win the time-honored race in back-to-back years.
Headlining the Cummings team is Drago who will have plenty of runs under his belt by the times he gets to the Derby on November 2, as the Danehill Dancer colt is set to contest the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on Saturday and the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on October 12 before a possible tilt at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
Other notable Victoria Derby nominees included the David Payne-trained duo of Dowdstown Charlie and Criterion, beaten Golden Rose favourite Prince Harada, Kiwi gelding Orion and the undefeated Hucklebuck.