Confirming she will not successfully defend her 2013 crown when removing one-time favourite The Offer from the 2014 Melbourne Cup, trainer Gai Waterhouse is confident of a consolation Group 1 victory with Hampton Court in Saturday’s featured Victoria Derby (2500m).
Securing three wins and a further two minor places from his nine competitive appearances so far, Hampton Court has steadily built to the task over five starts this time in and completed an ideal lead-in to the Victoria Derby when displaying an exceptional turn of foot to take out the featured Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (200m) with ease last time out on October 11th.
Bullish of the chances of the Redoute’s Choice colt this weekend, Waterhouse likened Hampton Court to last year’s Melbourne Cup hero Fiorente and is confident the wide Flemington course will see the best of Hampton Court this weekend.
“Having Hampton Court is a bit like having Fiorente in the Cup. I knew I had the best horse,” Waterhouse told AAP.
“It will take an outstanding horse to beat him. I think he’ll win easily.
“He’s got everything you look for in a Derby colt. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s got a superb temperament and he can stay.
“He was set for the Derby. I was hoping he was going to be good enough. He is good enough.
“I felt that Moonee Valley was too tight a course for him. I think he needs a track like this to see the best of him.”
Finishing second to Brazen Beau in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1100m) on debut on February 5th, Hampton Court failed to beat a single runner home in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) on March 1st before breaking through for a maiden race win in a minor over 1400m on March 19th.
Beating just one runner home in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) first-up this time, the three-year-olds ran third amongst classy company in a minor over 1400m on August 30th; finishing fourth in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) and winning the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) in the lead-up to the Spring Champion Stakes.
Leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best odds on the 2014 Victoria Derby, for which Hampton Court is clear market leader at a quote of $2.80 for success.
Open an account and deposit at Ladbrokes.com.au today to take advantage of up to $500 in bonuses!