Finding exceptional form leading into Saturday’s feature at Flemington, trainer Gai Waterhouse is bullish of classy three-year-old Hampton Court’s chances in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m), believing he is capable of an all-round polished performance.
Securing a commendable total of three wins and a further two minor places from his nine competitive appearances on course so far, Hampton Court will be aiming for a third-consecutive race win in the 2014 Victoria Derby having comfortably taken out both the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) and featured Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) most recently.
Understandably thrilled with the Redoute’s Choice colt’s form leading into the Flemington feature, Waterhouse believes Hampton Court is the best three-year-old stayer she has saddled since Nothin’ Leica Dane, who famously completed the Spring Champion Stakes/Victoria Derby double in 1995.
“He was very impressive – before that he was probably disappointing for the owner and maybe some of the punters who had backed him, but once he got to the 1900 of the Dulcify he beat very convincingly his stable mate,” Waterhouse said.
“It’s interesting that when he chased the other day, in both his races, he was very forceful at the end – he has led on a number of occasions but I think he’ll be there about.
“I think he’s probably the best Derby chance I’ve had since Nothin’ Leica Dane.”
Finishing second to classy sprinter Brazen Beau in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1100m) on debut in February, Hampton Court failed to beat a runner home in the Group 2 Silver Slipper (1100m) on March 1st, but responded well when breaking through for his 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 colt out of Roses ‘N’ Wine recovered to finish third amongst classy competition in the TAB Early Quaddie 3.y.o (1400m) on August 30th and fourth in the Group 3 Newcastle Spring Stakes (1600m) in his only two other starts prior to the Dulcify Quality.
Charged with overcoming the somewhat wide and awkward barrier 11, Hampton Court has maintained status as outright favourite in Victoria Derby betting markets and is currently available at odds of $2.40 for success with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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