Three year old colt Thinkin’ Big will run in the 2018 Melbourne Cup if he wins the Group 1 $2m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Thinkin’ Big is the current $2.80 favourite for the Victoria Derby and co-trainer Gai Waterhouse said that if the High Chaparral colt wins, the stable will accept to run in the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
“I’ve spoken with the owners, spoken with (co-trainer) Adrian (Bott) and we’re on the same page; if the colt is happy and healthy and well after the Derby, yes, we would accept (for the Cup),” Waterhouse told RSN927’s TAB Super Morning.
“He’s getting more seasoned, he’s still basically an immature horse, but he’s a lovely horse. He doesn’t waste any time or energy, he just does what he has to do.”
Thinkin’ Big is currently the last horse in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup with only 49kg and 9.5 under weight for age and will need to win the Victoria Derby to pass the first qualifying clause that says “since 1 February 2017 inclusive, won or was placed 2nd or 3rd in an internationally recognised Group or Graded flat race run over 2300 metres”.
Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter explained on Sky Racing’s Racing HQ that if Thinkin’ Big wins the Victoria Derby he may or may not get a penalty but if he remains on 49kg, he will still get into the final twenty-four horse field of the Melbourne Cup because his rating would go up considerably.
“When the weights came out on September 13 the minimum weight for a three year old is 49kg, Thinkin’ Big had three starts for a two year old maiden win and a two year old Handicap win, so naturally he was on the minimum weight,” Carpenter said.
“And he was on the maximum weight below weight for age which was 9.5.”
“He currently sits at the very bottom of the ballot, he hasn’t passed the first ballot clause and he remains at 9.5 below weight for age.”
“That’s because the Gloaming Stakes and the Norman Robinson (Ladbrokes Classic) victories have been less than 2300m and he hasn’t been able to get a penalty.”
“If he runs second or third in the Victoria Derby, he would pass the ballot but he would stay at the bottom of the ballot list.”
“If he wins the Derby, which is a 2500m Group 1 race, he can either be penalised or have his weight below weight for age amended.”
“As a Southern Hemisphere three year old on 49kg, that is a kilo below weight for age, which is equivalent of an older horse having 58.5kg or a four year old having 57kg. So he doesn’t have to get an actual weight penalty.”
“We will look at his performances and if he wins the Derby and only if he wins the Derby and see what his weight below weight for age in a ballot position should be.”
“If he was to win the Derby, having won the Gloaming and the Norman Robinson, he would be better performed than the Northern Hemisphere three year olds in the race, Cross Counter and Rostropovich, they are 4.5 below weight for age and last year’s Victoria Derby winner Ace High is currently 3 below weight for age.”
“So in all probability his weight below weight for age would move somewhere between 4.5 and 3 below weight for age and he would be into the race on that basis without necessarily having to carry more than the 49kg which already has him the worse weighted horse in the race.”
“He has to win the Derby and if he was to win the Derby he would be better performed than nearly all the other horses in the race and would take his place in the ballot.”
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Thinkin’ Big is the winner of four of his six race starts and this campaign was a first up winner in the Group 3 $200,000 360DMG Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill followed by a third in the Group 1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick and was then back in the winner’s stall with a brilliant front running display in the Group 3 $350,000 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m) at Caulfield.
Thinkin’ Big has drawn barrier nine in the sixteen horse plus two emergency Victoria Derby field with Tim Clark in the saddle again.
On the second line of betting for the Victoria Derby at Ladbrokes.com.au at $6 is the James Cummings trained Aramayo ahead of the Darren Weir pair of Savoie at $9 and Extra Brut at $9.50.
Thinkin’ Big is currently marked at $51 for the Melbourne Cup.