The bookies will have trouble deciding opening prices this Thursday night at Albion Park for the running of the 36th Group Two Queensland Derby.
The exciting heats last week produced a multitude of potential winners, and the box draw has evened the $38,000 race considerably.
To make doing the form more difficult, Setanta has been scratched from the race, which makes way for Group One Maturity winner Fedex to fill the box five vacancy and confirm the best Queensland Derby field in years.
The fastest qualifier in 30.09, High Earner, will need to continue his quick starting form from box four to try and take the lead, with Surfin Silence (box one), Jamaican Bolt (box three), Dyna Lachlan (box six) and Bogie Bomber (box eight) all running strong first sectionals in their heats, and now Fedex, who is sure to improve on his first start at the track.
High Earner, who is the reigning WA Derby winner, is expected to start marginally favourite considering his heat time and experience at the Brisbane track, including a best time from April of 29.76.
The Peter Giles-trained performer Jamaican Bolt showed Olympic speed last week, and the inside box should favour him with his consistent quick first sectionals making him a fair chance of getting him to the rail first.
However, Mal Dawson’s Surfin Silence has shown he can come out of the boxes firing also, boasting a 5.70 first sectional to win last week, and a best time from March of 30.03.
Dyna Lachlan will be hunting for eight straight wins from nine starts, winning by nine lengths in his heat and improving with each time he takes to the sand at Albion Park.
Tony Brett’s Bogie Bomber from box eight will be a strong chance, considering his best time of 29.96 earlier this year. Tony Brett’s form at the moment is also sure to make a big impact.
Another Brisbane has not seen much of is Kenneth Cheetham’s Take The Kitty, which won convincingly from box three in 30.18 ahead of Dashing Corsair. For only his first start on the track off one trial, he should only improve.
The Sky Channel Winter Chasing Carnival keeps getting better, and this week will also feature the heats of the Group Three Big Dog Cup 600m, formerly known as the Queensland Cup.
In Heat One (Race Three) consistent Albion Park runner Bounding will jump from box two and would have to be considered the favourite in this race considering her win record and knowledge of the track.
However, Barry Lazzarni has decided to bring his smart chaser up from Sydney, who boasts a near perfect distance record at Richmond and Wentworth Park.
Heat Two (Race Four) will be a very strong race, when Code (box one), Genista Reign (box two), Kallan Bale (box three) and Smart Betsy (box six) go head to head.
Code has had a tough campaign leading up to this race, having met some of the best including Forty Twenty in the heats of the Gold Cup last start.
Genista Reign has limited, but winning, form over the 600m at Albion Park including one win and a second placing from boxes one and two, respectively.
John Tyrrel’s Smart Betsy will be one to keep an eye on, boasting a string of recent wins over middle and distance races down south.
Heat Three (Race Five) will feature the in-form Classy Cha Cha in box three, who comes off the back of a career best winning time last week over 600m.
The Noel Murdoch-trained bitch is always in the finish and will be hoping to make it three wins in a row.
Tom Noble’s Black Monty is always a strong contender, and will jump from box two.
Margaret Quarrel’s Kathy’s Recall boasts the best time out of the field, posting a 35.05 in February, but has struggled to find the same form recently.
In box eight, a good alley for this start, Dashing Top Hat will have his second start over the distance after debuting on June 8 to run a very smart time of 35.28.
Heat Four (Race Six) of the Big Dog Cup will be a very interesting race.
Last year’s 600m dominator Black Ruler has drawn box eight, but a question mark hangs over him as to whether he will regain his form after a string of non-placings.
In box two, Christine Robartson’s Whata Surf will step up to the 600m distance for the first time.
Brian Kutner’s performer Texas Ranger will jump from box five in this race, and based on his form of the last few weeks should be able to cross the line first.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets :
- Race 2 Number 2 Lady Moscato
- Race 4 Number 6 Smart Betsy
- Race 5 Number 3 Classy Cha Cha
- Race 7 Number 2 Grand Rule