Victoria Derby Day is truly one of the great days on the world racing calendar.
Four excellent Group 1 races headline the start of what is a magnificent week at Flemington and while Derby Day is a significant social event of the year in Melbourne, there’ll be a huge crowd of racing fans at the track too.
So to help you find a winner, The Trial Files team have taken a look at the four big races of the day.
RACE 4 – Coolmore Stud Stakes – 1200M – 1.40pm (AEDT)
The first Group 1 race of the day is a sprint for the three-year-olds over 1200m.
EXOSPHERE has won three on end, picking up the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose with ease when beating the Caulfield Guineas winner, PRESS STATEMENT, before winning the Roman Consul last start. He is a massive 600kg beast of a horse and is arguably the best, and most exciting horse in the land. Short price here and looks extremely hard to beat.
The danger may come in the form of the Singapore galloper SUPER ONE, who won four in a row before disappointing at his first start in Australia. Since then, he has jumped out superbly at Flemington and we’re tipping he can improve sharply from what he did last start and be competitive. He is a good horse! KEEN ARRAY and COUNTERATTACK have claims as many do, at least for the place.
1st: EXOSPHERE ($1.40 to win)
2nd: SUPER ONE ($26 to win)
3rd: KEEN ARRAY ($11 to win)
4th: COUNTERATTACK ($15 to win)
RACE 6 – Longines Mackinnon Stakes – 2000M – 3.05pm (AEDT)
What a race this is with FAWKNER, HAPPY TRAILS, PORNICHET and GAILO CHOP backing up from the Cox Plate last week.
Willing to completely forgive that Cox Plate run of HAPPY TRAILS and prior, he was very good behind CRITERION (second in the Cox Plate) when beating home Caulfield Cup winner MONGOLIAN KHAN. He is up to this.
MAGIC ARTIST is a fascinating international runner from Germany who has won twice in group races over this distance. He commands respect. MAGIC HURRICANE may be the horse to beat with a slightly different form line, coming from winning the Group 1 Metropolitan over 2400m at Randwick. This six-year-old for Godolphin is a serious race horse and Opie Bosson gets the ride. FAWKNER, GAILO CHOP and STRATUM STAR command respect too.
1st: MAGIC HURRICANE ($6 to win)
2nd: HAPPY TRAILS ($8 to win)
3rd: MAGIC ARTIST ($15 to win)
4th: FAWKNER ($11 to win)
RACE 7 – AAMI Victoria Derby – 2500M – 3.50pm (AEDT)
This is the feature of the day – the $1.5 million Victoria Derby for the three-year-olds.
You couldn’t have many better Derby trials than TARZINO last start, who charged home late to grab third against the track bias at Moonee Valley. The run was enormous and from all reports, he has come through that run in superb order.
Speaking of good runs, GET THE PICTURE flew home in the Group 3 Norman Robinson last start, recording the best late sectionals of the race. The bigger surrounds of Flemington look right up his alley and he looks suited to the 2500m. This colt, ridden by Damien Oliver, draws perfectly in barrier 5 and looks a major player.
KIA ORA KOUTOU has won four from four and makes his way from Western Australia after beating the older horses at his recent outings. That form is hard to line up, obviously, but he commands respect. As does the Geelong Classic winner EXTRA CHOICE and LIZARD ISLAND.
1st: GET THE PICTURE ($10 to win)
2nd: TARZINO ($2.40 to win)
3rd: KIA ORA KOUTOU ($8 to win)
4th: EXTRA CHOICE ($13 to win)
RACE 8 – Myer Classic – 1600M – 4.35pm (AEDT)
The run of ROYAL DESCENT in the Turnbull Stakes was very good before she had a torrid time of it in the Caulfield Cup and didn’t see out the 2400m. The concern is whether she will be too dour after embarking on a staying preparation, but Hugh Bowman is on board – and that always helps.
Loved the first-up run of SOLICIT following on from a good trial. She should take plenty of benefit from that hit out but this is no easier. MAY’S DREAM was outstanding in a fast Stocks Stakes when forced to do a ton of chasing. She should have won the Let’s Elope two back and will get a beautiful run in transit. Super hope.
POLITENESS had a distance trial earlier in the week and had a relatively soft time of it. In three previous attempts, she hasn’t been competitive at the mile but she is going better than ever this campaign. STAY WITH ME won the Group 1 Thousand Guineas in sensational style. She beat JAMEKA in that who has since won so the form reads well. She is the sole filly in this race and gets in with only 49kg. The daughter of MISS FINLAND is a serious horse and we feel she can win this.
The Ciaron Maher-trained AZKADELLIA backs up after running on extremely well against the pattern on Saturday at Moonee Valley. The run was that of a coming winner. This is a much tougher race but she is flying.
1st: MAY’S DREAM ($13 to win)
2nd: STAY WITH ME ($4.20 to win)
3rd: POLITENESS ($13 to win)
4th: SOLICIT ($26 to win)
* All odds from Sportsbet and correct at 5pm (AEDT) on Thursday.