Sydney three year old Savvy Nature rounded off his Victoria Derby preparation with an effortless win in the Group 2 $220,000 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley today.
Savvy Nature is second favourite for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington next Saturday behind the Peter Snowden trained Complacent.
While not conceding defeat, today’s winning trainer John O’Shea admits that Savvy Nature will still have to improve another length and a half to be competitive with Complacent in the Derby.
“He’ll be competitive with but he will definitely need to find a length and a half,” O’Shea said.
Savvy Nature started the short priced $1.80 favourite today and with the blinkers on for the first time was able to score a three lengths win over the $201 chance All Rigged UP and Pinstripe Lane ($17) a further one and a quarter lengths away in third spot.
Blake Shinn let the Anthony Cummings trained Drago roll to the front at the 1400m but the three year old had had enough on the home turn and faded in the run to the line to wind up in fifth spot.
“He got the job done, he had a nice gallop. This race traditionally has been a great guide to the Derby and hopefully it is this year as well,” O’Shea said.
Winning rider James McDonald was pleased to get a win under his belt early in the day before he hops on the Cox Plate favourite It’s A Dundeel in the last race of the ten event program.
McDonald said after the race that Savvy Nature raced quite greenly but was good enough to win and will be better suited next week on the bigger Flemington track.
“He did a lot wrong. He hung quite bad. He really couldn’t get around the course very well. I was lucky I could get away with it,” McDonald said.
“I knew this was a key lead up for the Derby and we are full steam ahead to get him on that big track, he is going to be awfully hard to beat.”