Recent racing will ensure that Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon will strip in prime condition to run out a strong 2400m in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
Trainer James Cummings said the recent wet weather in Sydney had caused problems with getting horses fit on the training tracks for the middle distance races but be believes he has Prized Icon ready to handle the 2400m with his third run in as many weeks.
“Our horse is going to go into the race off a three week back up and have a very very solid grounding to be at his best at 2400m,” Cummings said.
“He is really well. Now fifth up into the Derby and beautifully fit for the 2400m.”
Prized Icon proved to be the superior staying three year old in the Spring with a win in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival but has had indifferent form heading into the Australian Derby.
The More Than Ready colt resumed over an unsuitable distance for a sixth to Man From Uncle in the Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 18 and then ran second to Hey Doc in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) on a Good 3 track at Flemington on March 4.
Cummings blames the heavy track conditions for Prized Icon’s tenth to New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts in the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 18 but was more than happy with his second, on a heavy surface again, to another Kiwi Jon Snow in the Group 2 $200,000 Power Distribution Australia Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Jockey Glyn Schofield, who rides Prized Icon (barrier 6) again in the Australian Derby, and Cummings were more than pleased with his effort last Saturday and expect him to take a lot of benefit out the run.
“I think it is fair to say that he hated the ground at his last two starts at Rosehill but he really lifted to a new level on the weekend and now he is fully primed and ready to run his best,” Cummings said.
“Glyn and I really believed that if we could get within three lengths of Jon Snow who has the right proper form going into the Tulloch and our horse could really improve out of sight.”
“When our horse finished second in the Tulloch we got the ‘Gypsy Feeling’ and hopefully he is ready to fire up this weekend.”
Prized Icon is marked as a $10 chance for the Australian Derby at Ladbrokes.com.au who have Gingernuts as the $3.50 favourite.
On the second line of betting at $4.40 is the Team Hawkes trained Randwick Guineas winner Inference ahead of Jon Snow at $6 and the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained Anaheim at $8.