Cannington is set to hold heats for the Group Two Derby on Saturday night, with some of WA’s best chasers lining up against a number of traveling sensations. Reigning Perth Cup champion Keybow is the star attraction for trainer Darren McDonald. Local trainer Steve Withers believes that Keybow is the likely Derby winner. Withers has two of his own chasers in the heats and he is less confident in their abilities to perform.
Withers first chaser Hard Merchandise is up against Keybow in the second heat, jumping from box eight. The son of Collision – Black Velveteen has had 20 starts for six wins and seven placings. The blue dog has tried his luck over a range of distances in his short career, from the 405 at Mandurah, to Cannington’s 530 and 642. His last start was over 642, which should see him running onto the line strongly in the heats.
“Box eight isn’t a help to him and he isn’t that great early which is why we went over 600 metres with him, he is a one pace dog.” Trainer Steve Withers explains.
“It’s just getting into the race when they are faster then you. We just hope he gets around safe with no injuries and then go back to 600 metres next week and look for an easier assignments.”
Nobu King is Withers’ second dog in the heats. The black dog by Collision – Secret Queen has had most of his success over the 405 and 490 metre distance at Mandurah, despite qualifying at Cannington in 30.90 then going on the following week to win in 30.79; both best of the night performances.
“He has got lots of speed, but so does Jabba Da Pup (box two) as they have shown when they got away from the field in the heats of the Mandurah derby. Jabba Da Pup looks to be a bit stronger though.”
“Originally when Nobu King came over here it was suggested that he was a speedster, a 400 metre type dog. He kept surprising us with each trial we put him around and we expected that we would win a city maiden then drop back and let him race 400 metres to mature for a while.”
“Him and his sister seem to handle the two bend type situation at Cannington better then they do the one bend at Mandurah, even though it’s a longer distance. I don’t get it! You’d think the longer trip would be more detrimental to them.”
Withers believes it’s a good problem to have if they are going to go up to Cannington regularly.
“We are hoping he might appreciate the two turn situation at Cannington like he did in his maiden.”
“It’s a tough heat, obviously with Darren’s dog (Where’s The Surf), who has proven to be classy as well as Jabba Da Pup.”
Heat One (8.09pm Perth time)
The first heat of the night sees David Hobby’s Prang Monelli start $2.80 favourite despite jumping from box six. Although this chaser hasn’t recorded a win in his last five starts he has been thundering home of late after finding trouble throughout. If he finds a clear run from box six it is hard to see anything else being able to match him.
Ambitious Gem has received the cherry for trainer Jamie Marsh and is currently paying $4.00. He is yet to finish first past the post at Cannington, with most of his success at Mandurah over 405 and 490. Strength may be an issue over the 530 despite having four starts in preparation.
Linda Britton’s My Mate Cobber is jumping from box eight and is set to start paying $3.20 for the win. The son of High Earner – No Recall has plenty of talent so expect him to power home from midfield.
Heats Two (8.32pm Perth)
Keybow headlines the second heat jumping out of box seven paying $1.60 for the win. The Darren McDonald trained chaser’s last start at Cannington was a blistering 30.15 Perth Cup win and a lot will have to go wrong for him to miss out on a spot in the Derby final.
Brad Yates’ talented chaser Stangafied has drawn box three and sits second favourite paying $3.00 heading into the heats. Stangafied looks the biggest danger to Keybow after clocking a personal best time of 30.21. He will need to improve on his early speed if he is to have much of a chance to take first place away from Keybow.
Elephant Gunn is wearing the blue rug for trainer Jayson Gunning, his Mandurah form of late has been impressive, only missing out on a placing on one occasion in eight starts. He has won at Cannington in 30.91 so he will have to more then improve to knock out the likes of Keybow and Stangafied.
Heat Three (8.50pm Perth time)
The third heat is an all WA trained dog affair with equal favouritism held between Battler’s Boy and Full Of Beans.
Battler’s Boy is jumping from box four and has the least experience but the quickest time of the field. In his three career starts he has won once and never finished unplaced. Inexperience is one of the only things that can bring him unstuck in this race.
Ben Abercrombie’s Full Of Beans (box eight) is a good beginner and has enough strength to hold off the field when he finds the lead. He won’t need to improve much on his personal best time of 30.68 to win this race.
Marnoo for trainer Peter Hepple was victorious in the Mandurah Derby heats, but failed to match the speed of leaders Stanga Tom and Jabba Da Pup in the final. A lack of strength may come into play in the Cannington heats after multiple starts over Mandurah’s 490.
Heat Four (9.12pm Perth time)
Linda Britton’s Burundi has drawn the red box and will need to make the most of the inside draw if he is to win this race. His Mandurah form hasn’t been great, finishing unplaced, so a switch back to Cannington might see him back in the winner’s circle.
Darren McDonald has also brought along Tiggerlong Amigo who is set to start $2.50 favourite. The furthest he has run is the 525 at The Meadows which could make things a bit harder for him over here.
Devine Awe has made the trip to WA from New South Wales with trainer Patrick Parrelli and has drawn box seven. He has clocked some pretty smart times at multiple tracks and it will be interesting to see how he handles the two turns at Cannington. He is currently paying $7.50 for the win.
Heat five (9.27pm Perth time)
Christine Robartson’s Jabba Da Pup is one of the smartest young dogs running around. He is yet to try his luck over the 530 at Cannington but went super his first time over 490 in the Mandurah Derby. Despite his inexperience over the distance he is currently second favourite paying $3.80 from box two.
Bekim Maxim (box three) is down in form his last four starts after putting in a solid few weeks of racing. His downfall is his box manners, which see him near last out of the boxes each time he goes around, but he does thunder home. The day that he jumps and lands on the bunny it would be no surprise to see him clock a slick time.
Where’s The Surf for Darren McDonald holds the most experience over all in the race, just not on this track. The blue dog is without a win in five starts and will look to break this streak with his class advantage.
“Five heats are a strong showing and the quality of the heats are pretty good, they are no weaker then previous years. I think that potentially the Derby heats will be weaker then the Oaks heats for the first time ever. There has been a plethora of classy bitches that have hit the ground locally.”
It was no shock to see Keybow return to Cannington after his Perth Cup performance, Withers believes that the Derby has to be considered an easier race then the Perth Cup.
“It’s surprising to see Dailly and Collins didn’t come over. I suppose it comes down to what races are on.”