Jockey Tommy Berry believes that the step-up to 2400 metres will be ideal for progressive gelding Elusive Runner in the 2014 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Elusive Runner was given eight barrier trials by trainer John Sargent before he made his racing debut with a fifth place finish at Kembla Grand on March 10 and has impressed each time that he has been stepped up in class and distance.
The Encosta De Lago gelding missed the start and was blocked for a run when a narrow third in the Nathan Berry Memorial Handicap (1400m) at Hawkesbury on April 10 before breaking his maiden status with a tough win in the Hibernian Hotel Plate (1600m) at Goulburn on April 28.
Elusive Runner made his city debut with a far-finishing second behind fellow Queensland Derby contender Pinstripe Lane in the Rexel Handicap (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 10 and flew home from the tail of the field in the last 200 metres to finish second in the Sportsyear Handicap (2000m) at Royal Randwick on May 24.
Berry told Sky Racing HQ that he could not have been more impressed with the way that Elusive Runner worked home in the Sportsyear Handicap and said that he is looking forward to seeing what the three-year-old can do over 2400 metres in the Queensland Derby.
“It was probably one of the most eye catching runs I have seen in a long while in Sydney,” Berry said.
“He got a long way off, gave them a big start and was pretty wide on the corner and he still wasn’t a part of the race until the 200 when he flashed home.
“It was no fault of Jason’s, everybody drops the reign a couple of times in a race, and unfortunately it happened to him on that occasion and he wasn’t able to gather it until the last 100 metres.
“When he did and got stuck into him he really found the line well and the Derby trip is going to suit him right down to the ground.
“I think that the track at Eagle Farm is a lot bigger than Doomben and I am glad that the race is there.”
Elusive Runner ($4.50) is currently on the second line of 2014 Queensland Derby betting markets, following the barrier draw for the Group 1 event that was held this morning, with Pinstripe Lane ($4.40) a narrow favourite from Grand Prix Stakes winner Vilanova ($4.50).