2017 Victorian Derby preview

Spectacular fields, competitive racing and the chance for non race-goers to dress up. Derby Day provides something for everyone.

Vic Derby Day Flemington

The heart of the Spring Carnival is here, with Flemington’s Cup week upon us. Derby Day is the best day of racing anywhere in the southern hemisphere, and though this year’s Derby is certainly not a classic like other years, it is highly competitive nonetheless.

From a ratings comparison point of view, here are the last 4 Derby winners and what they rated:

Derby Day preview image 1

PRIZED ICON flew last year, going 115, that’s a very high figure for a Derby winner, however as you can see all four have rated quite well, 111 being the lowest.

Comparing that to this field, the highest figure I have given is 108, so I don’t expect this to be a high rating year, however you never know, something can always improve and jump out of the box to rate high.

Before I go on to the speed map, I should inform you that I have done this preview taking no track bias into account. I am not betting races 1&2, and I will be assessing then to see if there’s a pattern (EG Derby day rail true dynamite rail bias as it can be), and if there is I will be adjusting my markets, but for now my form has been done assuming a fair track.

Speed map –

Derby Day preview image 2

I think the pace will be OK, they’ll probably try to take a break at some point, but it’s a long race and in the end they’ll probably sort out an order. I think SULLY and JUSTICE FAITH will probably go back further to get in.

My prices –

Derby Day preview image 3

As you can see, I have it very even, very open, which is to be expected when I don’t predict it to be a high rating race. Therefore, I won’t be taking short odds about anything, and at this stage there looks to be value in ESHTIRAAK, ABERRO, and a few others pretty close to being overlays too.

What would my suggested play be? Well, don’t blow the bankroll on this query race! I will be backing the overlays but not big bets in such an even race. Follow my prices and back the overs.

See below for runner by runner description.

#1 ACE HIGH – Going well in Sydney, 109-107 last two winning but I don’t think has any more improvement in him, and is some query the extra 500m. Run wasn’t ending LST but was ridden right out. Rating: 108

#2 TANGLED – Quite a 1P runner but looks like he’ll stay the 2500m and I don’t think we’ve seen his top yet. Went 106 in Sydney behind ACES HIGH then 104 behind CLIFFS EDGE, tough to work out his top but I think he can get the trip and peak 5th up Rating: 107.5

#3 ASTORIA – Rated 106 winning the Spring Stakes at NCLE back in September, over a mile, but just 101 when third in the geelong classic LST, and I reckon he peaked on his run there, I am a doubt about him getting the trip. He has a base for a 109 figure, so I can push him up but I want to take him on at the 2500m Rating: 106

#4 ESHTIRAAK – OK against the bias LST and I think he will stay. Was a bit ord the start before, but early on looked like he could be a 110 horse and did come back at 105 1st up at Randwick so it’s not out of the question, only 99 LST but that was a better effort than that. Rating: 107.5

#5 MAIN STAGE  – Went v.well rating 109 winning at Flem in the UCI at 2LST then not suited by the bias Caul Cup day but still was a bit disappointing. I think he’ll stay the trip no prob, think he’ll like it, but based on LST I can’t go above the 109 he did, and he has to be some chance not to do it based on the poor run LST Rating: 108

#6 SULLY – Has progressed steadily this prep, rating 94-97-97-103 with the 103 being a strong closing 3rd in the Spring Champion behind ACE HIGH. I think he’ll stay the trip OK, just how much he can keep improving is the question. Rating: 106.5

#7 WEATHER WITH YOU – Tough effort LST rating 102 winning the Geelong classic and has a base to go higher, and given everything else on pace dropped out he was a great effort to keep going. Projecting him at a 106 peak and happy to give it. Rating: 106

#8 ABERRO – Has a base for a 107 peak, did 102 at 2LST then not suited with the bias caul cup day, 99. Not certain he’ll stay but not Robinson Crusoe on that island! Rating: 105

#9 PISSARO – If it weren’t trained by Robbie Laing I’d say this horse has none, but he has an uncanny ability to get horses with no form to do freakish things… PISSARO’S best figure so far is 94 though, LST at MV, and is a long way off. Has a base for 103 at absolute best way. Rating: 101

#10 JUSTICE FAITH – JUSTICE FAITH’S best so far is only 95, LST, but he looks most of all like the one who will stay the trip, so could improve his figures quickly. Hard to mark but these types can improve lengths when out to a trip Rating: 104

#11 OCEANS FOURTEEN – Had chance to run WEATHER WITH YOU down LST, it made the pace, this one rated 102 just failing, however his run didn’t end and I think he’ll stay. That was a big jump up from his MDN win of 89 the start before but as I said above 3yo’s can do that this time of year when out to a trip. Only third career start, think he will stay, so am improving more. Rating: 104.5

#12 GREYCLIFFE – Not your typical Derby prep, Casterton MDN, Seymour BM64, Derby, with a trip to Benalla in between, but GREYCLIFFE is another who improved quickly out to a trip LST, rating 100 and was eased. He had a turn of foot there which is important, it shows that he was above that grade, and therefore we have not seen his top. Hard to project what he can get to this run but I think he’ll like the 2500m too, so can improve more yet. Rating: 106

#13 JOHNNY VINKO – Went OK 2LST at Flem rating 105 but failed to hold, going poorly 90 at Geelong, I can’t give him a new peak off that. Rating: 104

#14 NOTHING TOO HARD – Had many starts and his best is 95, done LST, he looks like he’ll like the 2500m but he’s still a MDN and needs a lot Rating: 99

#15 ROCKARRAL – Won MDN 2100m 2LST rating 86 then 91 LST, will stay and another who could jump in figures quickly, it’d just be such a big projection to get him high enough though Rating: 101

#16 WOLFE TONE – No luck LST rating 92, same as the start before, and will appreciate the 2500m, but again he’s another who needs a lot. Rating: 102

#17 BEACHWOOD – 1st EM, needs far too much improvement Rating: 96

Good luck everyone.


Cameron O’Brien