John O’Shea has Shards and Etymology in the 2015 Victoria Derby field and the leading trainer is happy with both his charges ahead of the $1.5 million at Flemington tomorrow.
Shards was a late entry for the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) following his unlucky effort in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 and he stamped himself as a genuine contender for the Group 1 race when he finished a tough second behind Jameka in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2400m) last Saturday.
O’Shea said that Shards was very tough to the line in the Moonee Valley Vase and he told Racing Ahead that the Medaglia D’Oro colt gives him the impression that he will have no issues running out a strong 2500 metres.
“Mac was a bit critical of himself in the AAMI Vase and he though he pushed the button a bit soon, but I thought he ran really well,” O’Shea said.
“He will run the mile and a half, he is a very fit racehorse, we have engaged Hughie and nobody has a better record in the race in the last few years than Hughie.
“He will give a good account of himself.”
Etymology has flown under the radar ahead of the 2015 Victoria Derby, but he was only narrowly denied by dominant favourite Tarzino in The Cove Hotel Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on September 19 before he went on to perform well in both the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 4 and the Group 3 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) at Caulfield on October 17.
O’Shea said that Etymology has improved each time that he has stepped up in trip this preparation and he is confident that the New Approach colt will relish the step-up in trip.
“Etymology looks a genuine mile and a half horse and he has really trained on since Caulfield,” O’Shea said.
“He has made dramatic improvement and he is going to get a lovely run just off the speed.
“He is a nice chance in an open race.
“Mac had the choice and he thought that Etymology was the better ride, but Shards chances will be dependent upon the first furlong and how Hughie can get him across.”
Shards has been one of the best-backed runners in the 2015 Victoria Derby betting market with Ladbrokes and he is into $14, while Etymology has been steady at $17 throughout the week.
You can score the best Victoria Derby odds with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% on every single race at Flemington on Saturday.