This Saturday at Flemington Racecourse the opening meeting of the Melbourne Cup Carnival takes place with four Group 1s on the card including the Victoria Derby 2015 for three-year-olds.
The $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) attracted 34 latest acceptors, the capacity 16-starter 4-emergency final field due out on Wednesday.
Leading the current Victoria Derby entries and betting odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are running Best Tote or SP + 20% on the race this weekend, is the Mick Price-trained Tarzino.
Shooting for his maiden win the in the classic, Price has the dominant top fancy in early Victoria Derby betting with his quality staying colt Tarzino paying $2.50 for the win.
The son of Tavistock ran the ideal Derby trial when a fast-finishing, hard-closing third behind Crown Oaks-bound filly Jameka in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on Cox Plate Day – a race that last produced a Victoria Derby winner in Lion Tamer (2nd in 2010).
Tarzino firmed into the early $2.50 favourite for this weekend’s Group 1 and is one of three single figure hopes in the markets.
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Jumping favourite isn’t historically an advantage however with the last Victoria Derby top fancy to take it out being Efficient (11/8 in 2006).
Following Tarzino in the latest all-in Victoria Derby odds are Get The Picture ($8) and Kia Ora Koutou ($8.50).
Stuart Webb prepares Excellent Art colt Get The Picture who ran second in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) before a fourth on Caulfield Cup Day to Sacred Eye in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m).
Kia Ora Koutou meanwhile is a Perth-trained Blackfriars gelding, Adam Durrant’s undefeated youngster yet to race outside of WA where he has won all four of his career starts up to 2200m to date.
Sitting number one on the Victoria Derby ballot is the Chris Waller-trained Vanbrugh.
The Encosta De Lago colt has won his past three on the trot in Sydney, most recently the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on October 10.
Waller, who won the Cox Plate with record-breaking mare Winx last Saturday, however has ruled Vanbrugh out of a Derby run this Spring instead sending him to the paddock for an autumn return.
Other headline Victoria Derby entries this season include the Pat Hyland-trained Lizard Island, John O’Shea’s Shards and Sovereign Nation for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig.
Sebring colt Lizard Island has run out of the money just once in eight career starts, the super-consistent Cranbourne-based youngster a dual runner-up from as many runs at Flemington.
Runner-up to Press Statement in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) two back he was last seen finishing second to Sacred eye in the Norman Robinson.
Shards, a $13 chance in Derby betting, is a Godolphin-raced Medaglia D’Oro colt who caught the eye on Cox Plate Day when a length away second in the Vase, improving notably on his 13th in the Caulfield Guineas the run before over a mile.
Lindsay Park’s Encosta De Lago colt Sovereign Nation also ran in the vase, the Group 2 Stutt Stakes winner at the track only managing to cross eighth.
Hayes & Dabernig also have top hope Extra Choice rated a $10 chance for the Derby after the Redoute’s Choice gelding won the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on October 21.
Co-trainer Hayes has won the VRC Derby twice before with King’s High (1988) and Kibbutz (2007), while Waller’s 2014 winner Preferment was the last to come out of the Geelong Classic when runner-up in the lead-up last year.
To get behind your early Victoria Derby 2015 selections at their futures prices, click on the links below to bet with Ladbrokes.com.au who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% across the whole Flemington card on the weekend!