Trainer David Payne has ambitious Autumn Carnival plans for his three year old Doc Holliday who he is aiming towards the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 2.
The lightly race Doc Holliday has only been to the races on three occasions but Payne believes he has the makings of a top line middle distance performer.
“We’ve given him time to mature so now we’ll march onto the Derby,” Payne told AAP.
“That’s the plan if all goes well.”
“I can’t wait to get him out to 2000 metres.”
Doc Holliday was able to win at his second race start in a 1600m Kembla Grange Three Year Old Maiden in September last year then ran sixth in a 1600m three year old BenchMark 72 Handicap at Randwick in the middle of October.
The High Chaparral gelding resumes at Rosehill on Saturday and in his first steps towards the Australian Derby will run in the in an $85,000 More Than Just Winning BenchMark 72 Handicap over 1400m and Payne expects him to race well first up even though he considers the distance to be short of his best.
“It will be a bit short for him this week but he is fresh and he’ll run a cheeky race,” Payne said.
Payne has given Doc Holliday two barrier trials at Rosehill in preparation for his return to the race track for a third and a sixth and is expecting a bold showing even though he is rated the outsider of the field at $41 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Tye Angland takes the mount and Doc Holliday will jump from barrier five in the nine horses field.
The Gai Waterhouse trained River Wild heads the market order at $2.30 ahead of Denmagic at $5 and Laucala and Niccoco at $6.
River Wild scored a comfortable win at his second run back from a spell in a 1200m three year old BenchMark 72 Handicap at Randwick on January 16 and looks the one to beat again.
More Than Just Winning Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.30 River Wild, $5 Denmagic, $6 Laucala, Niccoco, $11 Water Diviner, Yulong Ambition, $19 Miss Sydney, $31 Hierarchal, $41 Doc Holliday.