With two Derby trophies already on the mantelpiece, prominent owners Graham and Linda Huddy could add a third when Preferment contests this Saturday’s $2M ATC Derby at Randwick. Preferment won last spring’s VRC Derby and the Huddy’s readily identifiable maroon and gold diagonal silks where carried to victory in the 2010 ATC Derby by Shoot Out. Preferment has followed an almost identical lead-up program to that that was successful for Shoot Out. Preferment is $3.50 favourite in early markets just in advance of Hauraki for the Godolphin camp ($3.70) with New Zealander Volkstock’n’Barrell ($4.60). New Zealand gallopers have been regular visitors to Sydney for the race and with strong results. It’s A Dundeel (2013) and Nom De Jeu (2008) have been winners whilst Monaco Consul, Harris Tweed and Red Ruler have filled placings in recent editions.
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1. PREFERMENT – D Oliver (10)
VRC Derby winner set himself up for a shot at a rare double with a tough and close second to Volkstock’n’Barrell in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) a fortnight ago. He was ridden closer to the speed than usual in the small field of seven and found the winner with a touch too much acceleration in the straight over 2000m. That was a perfect hit-out for the Derby and the step up to 2400m is ideal.
2. VOLKSTOCK’N’BARRELL – C Williams (5)
The New Zealand galloper secured a lovely run in the Rosehill Guineas and dug in well late to nose out Preferment on the line. His previous start saw him run second in the NZ Derby – his first attempt at the distance. Going very well for a trainer who has had plenty of success at this carnival in recent years and no reason why this bloke won’t continue that tradition for her.
3. MONGOLIAN KHAN – O Bosson (1)
Winner of the New Zealand Derby, his fifth consecutive win, the Holy Roman Emperor colt was expected to perform well when lining up in the Rosehill Guineas a fortnight ago and started 9/2. He was under pressure a long way out though and battled home for a disappointing fifth (6.2 lengths) to compatriot Volkstock’n’Barrell. Four from four on slow tracks back home in New Zealand so some sting out of the track may see an improvement but he has a lot of ground to make up.
4. HAMPTON COURT – J Parr (6)
The Redoute’s Choice colt has really struggled this campaign to find the form that saw him start a short-priced favourite in last spring’s VRC Derby. He’s finished well out of the placings in each of four starts the most recent being a ninth (7.1 lengths) to Hartnell in last week’s BMW Stakes (2400m). He is better suited back to his own age here but just not going well enough at present.
5. HAURAKI – J McDonald (9)
Started 4/1 favourite in last weekend’s G2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and as they turned for home, only needed a gap to present itself, which it did at the 250m, before racing away to register an impressive 2.5 length win over Omeros. Strong over a distance last time out, his first go beyond a mile, and whilst this is a step up in terms of company, he’s an improving galloper who’ll run well again here too.
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6. QUICK STRIKE – T Angland (3)
Hasn’t been too far off the money in each of his four starts this campaign for trainer Chris Waller, finishing no worse than fifth. His most recent start was last week’s G2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) where, from near last on the turn, he boxed on strongly to finish 4.2 lengths (4th) behind Hauraki. Trying his best at the minute, but at this level, it’s hard to see that being enough to at least turn the tables on last start’s winner let alone win.
7. OMEROS – J Moreira (2)
John Sargent’s galloper broke his maiden status at his second start in an impressive manner, careering away with a Wyong Maiden over a mile winning by 3.8 lengths. The son of High Chaparral then had three weeks before contesting the G2 Tulloch Stakes last weekend. He enjoyed the perfect run behind the pace from the inside gate and hit the lead at the 300m. He was no match for winner Hauraki late though and finished second, 2.5 lengths in arrears. He has achieved a lot in three starts and has a bright future in front of him but hard to see him improving enough to be able to get the better of Hauraki this weekend.
8. RULING DYNASTY – T Berry (4)
He recorded a very comfortable Class 1 win at Kembla two starts back, his second victory from five starts, before drawing poorly in the Tulloch Stakes last week. That gate saw him settle near last and the Bart and James Cummings’ representative was under the stick turning however, he kept coming in the straight and finished fifth (5.1 lengths) from Hauraki. A dour type that should enjoy the 2400m and get closer to Hauraki this time out – capable of good run here.
9. BIKILA – C Schofield (8)
Recorded his first win two starts back in a BM 70 (1600m) at Lakeside before running seventh (7.4 lengths) in the G2 Alister Clark Stakes (2000m) behind Chill Party. His Trainer Pat Cary pulled of something similar to this attempt with Ethiopia in the 2012 ATC Derby but he was coming off a much stronger effort in the Alister Clark and wouldn’t think that lightning could strike twice.
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10. BROGUE – C Reith (7)
Won a Hawkesbury maiden (1800m) two starts back but any hopes of a meteoric rise to the heights of the ATC Derby were dispelled last start when he finished second to last and over a dozen lengths from Hauraki in the G2 Tulloch Stakes.
RACE OVERVIEW –
As he did prior to winning the VRC Derby last spring, Preferment put the writing on the wall last start that’s he’s ready. Over the 2000m he just didn’t have the acceleration to shake the Volkstock’n’Barrell but over the 2400m, ridden a bit more quietly, he’ll be steaming home late. Going with Ruling Dynasty for a bit value. Hoping to see him settle closer to the speed from a better draw and he’ll stick on. Hauraki and Volkstock’n’Barrell hard to ignore given impressive last start victories.