Kiwi three year old Werther will start favourite in the Group 1 $600,000 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday following his win against the older horses at Doomben last Saturday.
The Chris Waller trained Winx was listed at the top of the market order for the Queensland Derby after her devastating win in the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday but Waller said the filly would spell now before being prepared for the Spring Carnival.
“She has been up since the start of the season and owes us nothing. To run in the Derby would add nothing to her value,” Waller said.
“I think she will make a very good 1600-metre horse later in her career and the (Group 1) Myer Classic during the Spring should be ideal for her.”
In the Queensland Derby market order at Ladbrokes.com.au with Winx still at the top at $3, Werther heads the rest of the field at $4 and will be listed as favourite if Winx is not in the final acceptances on Wednesday morning.
Opaki trainer Andrew Campbell admits that the Queensland Derby was only an afterthought for Werther whose main Australian mission was the Group 1 $500,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 9.
Werther performed creditably when second to Western Australian super filly Delicacy and Campbell was pleased with the way the Tavistock gelding recovered from the run and decided to head to Brisbane.
“Adelaide was always the first choice, but we put a nomination in for Brisbane just in case,” Campbell told The Courier-Mail.
“After he ran so well at Morphettville, we just thought ‘bugger it, you’re only three once, let’s head to Brisbane’.
“The original plan was to go straight into the Derby, but he just did so well up here we needed another run and this one fitted in beautifully.
“I’ve always rated him as a really good horse and you saw the best of him (on Saturday). But in saying that, he had a real good blow and will improve further off that run.”
Werther repaid Campbell’s belief in his ability with a two and a quarter lengths win over Moriarty and Epingle in the Group 2 $250,000 Pages Event Equipment Hire Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Doomben last Saturday and is ready to back up this weekend against his own age group.
Top Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne was aboard Werther in the Eagle Farm Cup and is keen to stick with the Kiwi three year old in the Queensland Derby.
“I was really happy with the way he switched off in the run and we probably ran sub-34 over the last 600 so he’s got a really good turn of foot and look forward to the Derby,” Byrne said after his win on Saturday.
“I’m wrapped I’ve ridden him today (Saturday) and will be looking to stitch up the ride in the Derby, that’s for sure.”