The Darren Weir trained Heavenly Thought and Lucky For All had mixed luck at the barrier draw for the 2018 Group 1 $600,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Heavenly Thought might have had some heavenly intervention to come up with barrier one in the final field of sixteen plus five emergencies while Lucky For All was completely out of luck with barrier nineteen in the original draw, but will jump from fourteen if all five emergencies fail to gain a start.
Brad Rawiller takes the mount on Heavenly Thought while Damian Lane will ride Lucky For All.
Weir has given his nod to Heavenly Thought who is the winner of his last two starts, the latest being in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes over the same course and distance as the Queensland Derby.
“I think to my eye Heavenly Thought has really thrived since he’s been there, he’s just in really good order, we’ve been able to get quite a bit of work into him as well, which will bring him on,” Weir told racing.com.
“He’s the one I’d be leaning towards.”
“Heavenly Thought’s going great, I watched him work at the Gold Coast on Saturday morning, he worked very well.”
“To me he’s in really good shape, and he’s had the advantage of a run up there.”
Lucky For All strung three wins together before a last start seventh over 2100m at Sandown on May 26 when he had no luck in running and Weir is prepared to forget the run as he steps up in distance again.
“Lucky For All obviously last start wasn’t ideal and he didn’t get the gallop we were hoping for, but that was the fault of no-one, it was part of racing,” Weir said..
“He’s worked well since, but he’s working like he needs the trip now.
“The step-up in trip will be an advantage, but he’s still very babyish in the head, so there’s a lot to come from him for the future, but he’s very sound and very fit.”
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has five runners in the top sixteen plus the second emergency Ombudsman (barrier 16).
Waller’s contingent also had a mixed bag with his Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar coming up with barrier twenty-one and will jump from the outside gate while Tangled received the best barrier of the Waller runners at gate five with Michael Walker to ride.
Waller’s other three Queensland Derby runners drew around the middle of the pack with Augustus drawing nine with Brenton Avdulla, Almighty Crown barrier eleven with Ben Melham and Merovee, barrier fifteen for Blake Shinn.
One time Queensland Derby favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au Dark Dream still has plenty of admirers even though he was beaten into third place as favourite behind Heavenly Thought in the Grand Prix Stakes and Tim Clark will be able to give him a nice run in behind the speed after drawing barrier six.
The John O’Shea trained Live And Free (James McDonald) has drawn barrier twelve in the original draw and could come in four places if all the emergencies fail to gain a start.
Live And Free holds a narrow margin at the top of the Queensland Derby market order at $4.80 with Ladbrokes.com.au, just ahead of Lucky For All at $5, Dark Dream at $5.50 and Heavenly Thought and Youngstar at $7.50.