While unable to produce a winner for the last 40 years of racing, jockey Dwayne Dunn is confident a victory in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) will be key in Nozomi breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in Saturday’s featured Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Finding exceptional form leading into the Victoria Derby having also won the Sportsbet Fixed Odds Maiden (1875m) at Kyneton on October 3rd, Nozomi has secured a commendable record of two wins and a minor from just seven competitive appearances on course so far.
Allocated the somewhat wide and awkward barrier 13, Dunn is confident the form of his mount will stack up, particularly when considering Geelong Classic runner-up Preferment currently features as outright second favourite for the 2014 Victoria Derby.
“Damien (Oliver, riding Preferment) launched at me late the other day and my horse waited for him,” Dunn told TVN.
“His pedigree says he should be in the race and I think he is a great top five chance.
“He’s showed me the potential that he should be in the Derby.
“Obviously, he went back to a lesser grade to win his maiden, but it was no surprise to me that he won the Geelong Classic.”
Running a credible fourth in the De Bortoli Wines Plate (1107m) on debut on April 4th, Nozomi returned for a brief spell after only managing eighth in the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1410m) on April 25th.
Steadily building to the task this time in, the Street Cry colt ran sixth in the Grand Hotel Frankston (1200m) first-up, fifth in the Prestige Jayco Plate (1500m) and third in the Laurels Function Centre Maiden (1717m) prior to his most recent back-to-back victories.
Drawn just outside leading chances Hampton Court and Moonovermanhattan, Nozomi has the opportunity to settle in prime position this weekend and is currently available at generous odds of $21 for success in the Victoria Derby, or $5.60 to finish in the places with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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