Preferment is on target to collect a Derby Double when he lines up in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
The Chris Waller trained Preferment won the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival as a maiden galloper.
The Victorian Derby was his fifth run into his Spring preparation and the Zabeel colt will be going into Saturday’s Australian Derby with only three runs under his belt.
Preferment hasn’t won another race since his Flemington triumph but produced his best effort since last start when he got up to a suitable distance when a nose second to Kiwi three year old Volkstok’N’Barrell in the Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas over 2000m at Rosehill on March 21.
At his two previous runs Preferment was always out of touch in the shorter races when eleventh to Hallowed Crown in the Group 2 $200,000 Blackwoods CRC Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 21 followed by a sixth to the Bart and James Cummings trained colt again in the Group 1 $600,000 Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 7.
Preferment has come through his Australian Derby preparation in perfect order and Waller is relying on Damien Oliver to overcome the outside barrier in the ten horses field.
Oliver is no stranger to the Waller colt and steered him to his narrow Victoria Derby victory.
“Barrier ten of ten, D Oliver. He drew barrier six in the VRC Derby and was still three wide. Damien is a good jockey, knows the horse well,” Waller said in his weekly weekend preview.
“The horse can take up a position as we saw last start, he will find a spot there.”
Waller will also saddle up Quick Strike in the Australian Derby and even though he is stepping up in class and distance, the premiership winning trainer believes he will handle the 2400m.
“He has the action of a 2400m staying type, we are hoping he gets the extra trip and has had the right preparation and drawn favourably,” Waller said.
Quick Strike has drawn barrier three and will be ridden again by Tye Angland who has been aboard in all the High Chaparral gelding’s nine starts including his last start fourth to Derby rival Hauraki in the Group 2 $175,000 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Bookmakers are having trouble separating the top two three year olds in the betting with Ladbrokes.com.au placing Preferment at $3.40, fractionally ahead of the John O’Shea trained Hauraki at $3.60.
Volkstok’N’Barrell is also high up in the market order at $4.60 with New Zealand Derby winner Mongolian Khan at $8.50 the only other runner under double figures.
The remainder of the Australian Derby market order has Omeros at $11, Ruling Dynasty at $12, Quick Strike at $13, Hampton Court at $34 and Brouge and Bikila both at $101.