Trainer Ron Quinton has set his sights high for Warwick Farm winner Master Agar who could develop into an Australian Derby prospect.
Quinton has been patient with the expensive Not A Single Doubt three year old who was only having his third race start when a head winner in the $40,000 Hyland Race Colours Maiden Handicap over 1600m at Warwick Farm today.
But the former champion jockey believes that the gelding has the breeding and the potential to be aimed towards the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12, the second day of ‘The Championships’.
“He was quite an expensive yearling, he cost $240,000 and being by Not A Single Doubt we thought he might show something early,” Quinton told TVN.
“But he has gone completely the other way and thrown to the dam side with his mother being by Zabeel.
“His connections have been patient and allowed me to take my time with him.
“He has been in and out of the stables a few times but this is his first real preparation.
Master Agar was only facing the starter for the third time today and Quinton said that the step up in distance to 1600 was a telling factor in his narrow win and he feels that there will be further improvement again as the distances are increased.
“He is a big raw horse and I think he will keep getting better as the races get longer,” Quinton said.
“I’d look to nominate him for the Derby, there is a lot of water to go under the bridge but he gives the impression that he should stay.”
If Master Agar was to progress onto the Australian Derby he would have to take on some of the top staying three year olds in the country including the Chris Waller trainer Preferment and Hampton Court from the powerful Gai Waterhouse stable.
Preferment has been installed the early favourite at $5 for the Australian Derby with Ladbrokes.com.au after winning the 2014 Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
While Hampton Court, a $6.50 chance, is also a Group 1 winner after taking out the $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last October.
The John O’Shea trained Sweynesse is also high up in the betting at $7.50 following some good performances in the Spring that saw him win the Group 3 $200,000 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 27 before running third to Hampton Court in the Spring Champion Stakes.