Trainer Andrew Campbell has confirmed that tough stayer Werther could remain in Australia for the 2015 Queensland Derby after he made his Australian racing debut with a strong second in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2400m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Werther jumped from a wide gate in the South Australian Derby, but jockey Noel Callow was able to find a nice position for the Lord Tavistock gelding and he hit the front at the 400 metre mark before he was rundown by the talented Delicacy in the final stages of the race.
Campbell’s original plan was to send Werther back to New Zealand for a stint in the spelling paddock following the South Australian Derby, but the Opaki-based trainer told the New Zealand Racing Desk that he was considering giving the three-year-old another opportunity at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben on June 6.
“He has thrived since he has been over here and has come through the race in superb fashion,” Campbell said.
“The plan had been to just come for the one race and then send him home for a spell but he has done that well that we do need to think about Queensland as they are only three once and while he is in top form he has to be a big show in a race like the Derby.
“There is no disgrace to run second to a filly like her as she looks to have freakish ability.
“She could be the best staying filly they have seen here in a number of years.
“My fellow went a super race and tried to fight back when she went by but she looked like she was in a different class.
“I guess in any other year we would be celebrating a victory right now but unfortunately he struck one like this.
“I did say to the owners he would be a top stayer once he matured and he has certainly shown that now we have him racing in these middle distance events.
“I think he is probably still six months away from his best so we have a lot to look forward to in the spring if he can come up like he has for this campaign.”
The three-year-old was making his debut at Group 1 level in the South Australian Derby after he finished second in the Group 3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni on March 28 and took out the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie on April 18.
Werther is currently available at 2015 Queensland Derby odds of $9 with Ladbrokes and he is on the third line of betting behind Sadler’s Lake ($8) and Quick Strike ($8.50).