Jockey Craig Newitt is confident that Teronado will relish the step-up to 2400 metres when he contests the 2014 Australian Derby at Royal Randwick this weekend.
Teronado started his autumn campaign with a third place finish behind Woodbine over the unsuitable distance of 1200 metres in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 1 and has performed consistently without winning each time that he has stepped-up in trip this preparation.
The Testa Rossa gelding worked home strongly to finish fifth in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15 and did his best work late to finish fifth in his Group 1 debut in the Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue on March 1.
Teronado was one of the only horses to make up ground from the back of the field in the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15, finishing fourth behind Dissident, and produced another impressive staying effort to finish third behind Criterion and Thunder Fantasy in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 29.
Newitt has ridden Teronado in his past four starts and told RSN this morning that the talented three-year-old will appreciate the opportunity to finally step-up to 2400 metres in the 2014 Australian Derby on Saturday.
“He has been looking for 2400 for three runs now and he finally gets to it,” Newitt said.
“Hopefully the rain holds off and we get a good to slow track, which would be ideal for him.
“It is a big field and hopefully it generates a lot of speed and it will come down to a slugfest late and he will be one that will be grinding home.”
Teronado is currently on the fourth line of 2014 Australian Derby betting markets at odds of $9; with Rosehill Guineas winner Criterion ($3.60) a clear favourite from talented New Zealand-trained colt Puccini ($6) and Anthony Cummings-trained Thunder Fantasy ($8), while there has also been support for the consistent Savvy Nature ($10), Tulloch Stakes runner-up Singing Flame ($12) and Darley colt Tupac Amaru ($16).
Newitt is chasing his first win in the Australian Derby after finishing second on Red Ruler in 2008, third on Testafiable in 2006, fifth with Pre Eminence in 2009 and sixth with Hvasstan in 2013.