The Group I AAMI Victoria Derby field in 2015 is an even one with two of the major lead-ups won by fillies but one of the 16 starters has to win, so let’s see whose bred to get the trip best writes Breednet editor Tara Madgwick.
No. 1 – Lizard Island (Sebring x Bourgogne, by Choisir) – Has won only one of eight starts, but among his five seconds is a very good one to star colt Press Statement in the Caulfield Guineas and that effort is more than enough to say he’s a serious contender. Being by a Golden Slipper winner in Sebring from a daughter of Choisir hardly screams stayer, but his mum is a half-sister to VRC Oaks winner Bulla Borghese and his next two dams are Kiwi-bred being by Crested Wave and Oakville going back to a strong family of stayers. If there is one thing we’ve learned about Sebring, it’s that if you get a good one, it will run a Classic trip – let’s not forget his best son Criterion lines up in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
No. 2 – Shards (Medaglia D’Oro (USA) x Shatters, by Lonhro) – Has been mixing his form this preparation and led before being run down last start over the 2040 metres of the Moonee Valley Vase. Is by one of the best stallions in the world from a daughter of champion sire Lonhro. While his next two dams are by Quest for Fame (GB) and Sir Tristram (IRE), which are often seen as good staying influences, the female family leans towards speed going back to Golden Slipper winner Sweet Embrace, so the last 500 metres may test him.
No. 3 – Kia Ora Koutou (Blackfriars x Kia Ora Miss, by Jeune (GB)) – Unbeaten in Western Australia winning four from four up to 2200 metres and without question is bred to give this an almighty shake. His dad, Blackfriars, won this race in 1998 before going to become the champion sire in WA and his mum is a stakes-winner up to 2200 metres. His first two dams are by Melbourne Cup winners Jeune and At Talaq, so if Kia Ora Koutou fails, it won’t be for lack of staying blood.
No. 4 – Ayers Rock (Nicconi x Vintage Rock, by Thunder Gulch (USA)) – Didn’t exactly attack the line last start when stepped up to 2000 metres. By a short course sprinter in Nicconi from a mare that won up to 1800 metres and is by a Kentucky Derby winner in Thunder Gulch (USA). He’s probably gone as far as he will go this preparation, but if you want to delve right back in history, his fifth dam Indian Summer won the 1961 VRC Oaks, but you’re drawing a very long bow if you think that will help Ayers Rock climb to the summit on Saturday.
No. 5 – Man of Choice (Manhattan Rain x Moonsong, by Redoute’s Choice) – Keeps finding the line and running honestly in the right races and was an unlucky third in the Spring Champion, which looks outstanding form against most of these horses. Not really bred to stay on face value as he is very closely inbred to speed being by Manhattan Rain from a mare sired by that stallion’s half-brother Redoute’s Choice. His grand-mother Moon Magic was Kiwi bred and finished third in a Group I NZ 1000 Guineas and a couple of smart stayers appear in the family in Classic Benbara and Prince Benbara, so I think you have to just hope the Kiwi blood kicks in it at the top of the straight.
No. 6 – Extra Choice (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice x Bonaichi, by Fusaichi Pegasus (USA)) – Has hit top form at the right time with a powerful win in the Geelong Classic and was very strong at the end of 2200m. His sire can get a classic horse and dam was a stakes-winner by Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus from Group I winning miler Bonanova, a sister to Group I winners Telesto and Fraternity. Generally 2000 metres is about the outer limit for this family, but Extra Choice has already gone beyond that and as a big, rangy looking colt can probably get the extra 300 metres, although will need a good ride from the gate.
No. 7 – Tarzino (Tavistock x Zarzino, by Zabeel) -Two easy wins in lesser grade followed by two strong finishing efforts in the premium races have him favourite and on pedigree it’s not hard to see why. He’s by a son of Montjeu, a phenomenal sire of stayers from a daughter of Zabeel, another phenomenal sire of stayers. From the family of Group I winners Kindacross and Sky Chase, Tarzino was bred by Sir Patrick Hogan and a Derby has been on his agenda since the day he was born.
No. 8 – Get The Picture (Excellent Art (GB) x Classic Jewel, by Rubiton) – Hasn’t missed a place in five starts, the last two runs in Group races so has a good ‘can do’ attitude. By an under-performing shuttle sire that has left a handful of Australian stakes winners over sprint distances and while black-type is sparse in his immediate family there are international stakes-winners further back, but it’s not a page that really suggests Derby win. That said he does have two siblings that won minor races up to 2450m, so if you like him I’m not going to pot him.
No. 9 – Etymology (New Approach (IRE) x Weaver of Words, by Danehill (IRE)) – Lightly raced Godolphin runner that turned in a good Victoria Derby trial when third in the Caulfield Classic. Has seven winning siblings, but none that have won beyond 1800 metres, however is by an Epsom Derby winner in New Approach and his grand-mother is by a legendary Epsom Derby winner in Mill Reef, so expect him to find something in the straight.
No. 10 – Jadeer (Fastnet Rock x Moon is Up, by Woodman (USA)) – Improving with racing and tenacious last start second in Geelong Classic keeps him well in contention, especially from a good draw. By a champion sire that gets his classic winners and is from one of the best international families in the world, his dam a daughter of champion race mare and broodmare Miesque. That said, the majority of the best horses in this family are milers.
No. 11 – Palace Tycoon (Testa Rossa x Palace Glow, by Palace Music (USA)) – Yet to tackle stakes class, but has been making an impression on the provincial circuit with wins at Stawell and Seymour over 2000 and 2200m. Being by Testa Rossa from a stakes-placed sprinter in Palace Glow that never won beyond 1100 metres might say sprinter, but he is a full brother to a handy middle distance horse in Red Colossus, who was second in an South Australian Derby. Peter Moody has trained him like a stayer, so I’m not going to second guess him.
No. 12 – Scadden’s Run (Sebring x Miss Lily Rose, by Red Ransom (USA)) – A Bairnsdale maiden win from 10 starts is not encouraging and while he is by a terrific sire from an Oaks placegetter in Miss Lily Rose, it’s tough to see him jumping out of the ground to beat the best of these.
No. 13 – Pay Up Bro (Husson (Arg) x Sapphire Flash, by O’Reilly (NZ)) – Ballarat maiden winner finding the line well in recent runs in stakes class. By a sire not noted for stayers and is a half-brother to a brilliant sprinter in Morgan Dollar, but his mum is a half-sister to Veandercross, who was placed in two Derbies and the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, so connections will be taking heart from that.
No. 14 – Colonel Custer (NZ) (Savabeel x Metropolitan, by Elusive City USA)) – Gawler maiden winner with only reasonable form, but in the astute Phillip Stokes stable. By a great staying sire that already has produced a Victoria Derby winner and while his dam was a sprinter, there is a lot of class in this pedigree that will carry him along way.
No. 15 – Red Alto (High Chaparral (IRE) x La Sangre, by Fastnet Rock) – Maiden that was actually second to the Victoria Derby favourite Tarzino back in August in a 1400 metre maiden at Ballarat. Horses win races not pedigrees, but if pedigrees did win races, then Red Alto would be a top three pick here being by High Chaparral from a half-sister to two 2400 metre stakes-winners.
No. 16 – Iron Boss (Street Cry (IRE) x Faint Perfume, by Shamardal (USA)) – Terrific maiden win three starts back and then two subsequent runs in stakes races have been ok, but not great. Trainer Mark Kavanagh has won a Melbourne Cup with a Street Cry in Shocking and dam won a VRC Oaks, so trip should suit, but I can’t help thinking this is an autumn horse.
No. 17 – Bullish Stock (NZ) (Tavistock x The Lady, by Stravinsky (USA)) – Benalla maiden winner from four starts for powerful David Hayes and Tom Dabernig stable. He might be bred in New Zealand, but he’s from an Australian female family noted for speed with star family member Sea Siren the best horse on the page which makes me very sceptical that 2500 metres will bring out his best.
Tara’s Victoria Derby pedigree tips
No. 7 – Tarzino
No. 1 – Lizard Island (each-way)
No. 15 – Red Alto (roughie)