Saddler Hopes For Derby / Oaks Double

By: Ryan Clark
June 2nd, 2011

The battle of Brisbane is starting to intensify and most notably is the race to get into the Queensland Derby field.

There are 36 horses still in the running for the Eagle Farm Group 1 contest in two weeks time and it looks as if the weather will be a major factor.

For many trainers it’s now simply a waiting game as they hope and pray they can sneak into the field as they do the maths and try and work out who’s sitting where.

John Saddler is one of those trainers and his horse The Chevron was probably about 21st on the list just a couple of days ago.

Unfortunately for him the late nomination of Mr Light Blue pushed him back a spot and Quarterbar probably leap frogged him too with his win in Sydney yesterday.

As a result it now looks like The Chevron will require about half a dozen withdrawals to sneak into the field.

“It’s a bit of a concern at the moment, it’s out of our control so we’ll just sit back and see what happens over the next week,” Saddler said.

He’s sweating on him making the field as he feels he can capitalise on the wide open track at Eagle Farm.

“I watched him work this morning, he’s in terrific order the horse, it’ll be an awful shame if he doesn’t get a run in the Derby,” he said.

“He’ll handle every inch of the 2400m, he’ll be hitting the line hard.”

The Chevron ran at Doomben last weekend but on a  track favouring the leaders he never really managed to get himself into the contest.

“We put the blinkers on last week, he was pretty rusty last week,” he said.

“First time in blinkers and first time on a right handed track, a lot of things against him at Doomben.”

Of more immediate concern for Saddler is the progress of his Queensland Oaks filly Heidilicious which runs this Saturday at Eagle Farm.

She has a tremendous closing kick but the issue is getting her close enough as she has a tendency to rear in the stalls.

That cost her five lengths from the jump last start and it’s something they can’t afford in the Oaks.

“We’ve toyed with maybe putting a blindfold on her or maybe a barrier blanket but we’ve decided that hopefully the stewards give us two guys to hold her down,” Saddler said.

“One positive about the wide alley (15) is that she won’t be standing there long.”

After tacking back onto the field at Doomben she managed to run home very hard, something that pleased Saddler but he’s not getting carried away.

“Those horses that do get back and have a quiet run they’re entitled to hit the line strongly,” he said.

If she’s gets a decent spot form the jump though he does like her chances.

“If the cards fall her way she’s going to be terribly hard to beat,” he said.

The big question mark is what happens before they jump though and the concerning thing for Saddler is that there’s not a lot he can do about it.

“She’s always been a little bit touchy but seems to have got a little bit worse, it’s a concern,” he said.

“That’ll probably be the most worrying part of the day for me, when she’s standing in the barrier.”

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