Consistent three year old Upham staked his claims for the Queensland Derby with an impressive win in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2020m) at Doomben today.
The Peter Moody trained Upham had finished in the runner’s up stall at his last two starts in Queensland when second to Worthy Cause in the Group 3 $125,000 Surfers Paradise RSL Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at the Gold Coast on April 25 followed by a second to Sadler’s Lake in the Group 3 $125,000 Mitty’s Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 9.
Even though Upham had good form against this class of three year old in his lead up races, he was still sent out at the good odds of $13.
Winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy had Upham settled just behind the leaders and when he eased into the clear in to the straight draw away to score a one and a quarter lengths win over Redoubtable Choice ($14) and the Darren Weir trained Master Of Arts ($8) who made up ground from the back.
Upham will now be among the favourites for the Group 1 $600,000 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben in a fortnight and will come up against the same group of three year olds including the beaten favourite Sadler’s Lake.
The Chris Waller trained Sadler’s Lake was solid in the betting and was sent out the $3.50 favourite even though he had drawn the extreme outside barrier in the sixteen horse field.
Jockey Blake Shinn had the High Chaparral gelding out of the barriers quickly and pushed forward to be with the leaders on the turn out of the straight before taking over the role of pacemaker at the 1400m.
Shinn tried to slow the pace along the back of the track but was attacked by three or four other runners from the 1000m to the home and that left him stranded as a sitting shot but to his credit he fought on well to finished in fifth spot just behind the placegetters.
Runner up Redoubtable Heart, also from the Waller stable, ran a good Queensland Derby trial while the third placegetter Master Of Arts also ran on strongly indicating that the extra distance in two weeks time in the Derby won’t be any trouble.