R7: ATC Derby – 2400m 3YO G1 SW $2,000,000

The Track

The track is currently a Heavy 8 (Thursday) and the rail is in the inside position. Warm sunny weather is forecast for the remainder of Thursday, Friday and Saturday so we should be racing on a Soft 5 – Soft 6 at worst.

Historically when the rail is true and the sting is out of the ground, we see the inside section of the track inferior to out wider. It’s not impossible to lead and win (especially in sprint races), as long as the Jockey steers away from the fence around the home turn. Middle barrier draws and racing off pace to midfield are more suited than is normally the case.

Speed and Tactics

This year’s race has a significant lack of early speed. Jameka (12) is likely to press forward and should get across comfortably for a favourable run up on the lead, just as she enjoyed in the VRC Oaks last Spring.

Tally (9) has been racing off speed this preparation, but looks to enhance his prospects far more by being positive early here, rather than being negative or indecisive and hoping for a position to slot in.

Tarzino (6) showed more intent last start so we expect similar again, which should see him settle in the first 4 or 5.

There may be a few ridden contrary to their normal pattern due to the lack of pace, but it’s hard to imagine anything but a slow to moderate pace.

Early Pace Rating: Slow to Moderate

Late Pace Rating: Above Average to Fast

Best Suited: Handy runners

Race Overview

Below are the ratings that recent Derby winners have run to:

  • 2015 – Mongolian Khan – 103
  • 2014 – Criterion – 104
  • 2013 – It’s A Dundeel – 107.5
  • 2012 – Ethiopia – 102
  • 2011 – Shamrocker – 103.5
  • 2010 – Shoot Out – 103.5
  • 2009 – Roman Emperor – 103
  • 2008 – Nom Du Jeu – 102

The historical average since 2008 has been 103.6, highlighted by It’s A Dundeel’s  six length win in 2013, which earned an elite 107.5 rating.

Tarzino is the only runner in this year’s race with previous performances consistent with the historical average of this race. He ran to a 103.5 rating winning the VRC Derby last Spring and 103 last start over 2000m when he won the Rosehill Guineas. Given his peak last preparation came over 2500m, he’s a good chance of improving on his 103 last start rating to a new career peak of 104-105 in this race.

Jameka brings the next best credentials with a 100 last start rating and 101 peak in last year’s VRC Oaks. She’s followed by a number of others with peaks around the 97-98 level.

If Tarzino runs up to his best then it’s unlikely anything else in the field will match him. If he fails, then the winning standard for this year’s Derby could be as low as 100.

Race Assessment

.1. Tarzino (6) $1.75 MKT: $1.95

He’s the dominant force in this race. A great tactical ride which saw him sit handy to a moderate speed in the Rosehill Guineas helped him to win easily by 1.8 lengths in a 103 rating, which is well clear of the career best of any other runner in this field. In an ominous sign for his rivals here, he finished off better than any other runner in the Rosehill Guineas and we know from his VRC Derby win that the extra distance is in his favour, not to mention that his peak Derby run was on a Soft 5 track. Add to that an ideal draw for Randwick with the rail True, a likely comfortable run in the first four or five and proven ability to sprint well off a moderate speed. Tarzino is virtually faultless in this race. At $2.00 the market is suggesting he’ll only win this race 50% of the time and lose 50%. That seems conservative for a horse with such dominant credentials that is ideally suited by the race conditions. While a short priced favourite, there’s still a value edge there.

2. Vanburgh (8) $15 MKT: $11

Comes off a 97 rating last start when 3.9 lengths behind Tarzino and should be suited up to 2400m. He looks set up to better his established 98 peak rating here with something around the 99-100 level. Away from the favourite Tarzino, he’s certainly up there with the next best chances.

3. Etymology (5) $26 MKT $17

His second placing to Tazrino in the VRC Derby (2 lengths away) returned a 100.5 rating and his recent 96 rating in the Rosehill Guineas was solid without standing out. It’s hard to see him running to new career peak in this race, but he could certainly make some progress from 96 towards that 100.5

4. Tally (9) $12 MKT: $9)

He’s won four straight this preparation and improved his rating at every start, culminating in a 97.7 rating last start win at Moonee Valley over 2040m. He needs to go to another clear new peak here to reach the 99-100 mark consistent with the better chances behind Tarzino, but the prospect of a good run handy to a moderate speed will give him every possible chance.

5. Sovereign Nation (11) $51 MKT: $34

Didn’t have much luck last start when well backed and beaten 3.3L in the G2 Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill, but his likely level of 95-96 is well down the list of chances here.

6. Torgorsen (7) $21 MKT: $17

Ran really well against the pattern when 1.3L to Old North in the Tulloch Stakes last start (96 rating) and can probably improve to a new peak in this race. He’s among the group of next best chances behind Tarzino.

7. Gold Ambition (13) $101 MKT: $51

Was wide with no cover in the Rosehill Guineas and before that did run to a 97.5 figure when third in the Randwick Guineas. He’d need to bounce back from last start to a new peak and do it come from near last in a slowly run race. Seems unlikely.

8. What's The Story (4) $34 MKT: $15

Comes off a second in the NZ Derby with a 98 rating, but it was a big turnaround on his recent form and that raises some query about a repeat run here.

9. Tavago (1) $67 MKT: $41

Beaten 1.8L in the NZ Derby last start. Neither that run nor his form prior suggests he is up to this.

10. Crosley Hotshot (10) $201 MKT: $81

His best is a 91.5 rating. Doesn’t look anywhere near good enough.

11. Oh So Splendido (3) $401 MKT: $201

Beaten 8 lengths in the Rosehill Guineas off a similar margin in the NZ Derby. Nowhere near the level need to measure up to this.

12. Alfden (2) $401 MKT: $201

Looks significantly outclassed.

13. Jameka (12) $8.50 MKT: $6.50

Beaten two lengths by Tarzino in the Rosehill Guineas but looks set to peak stepping up to 2400m here, especially with the prospect of being advantaged up near the lead. We can’t see her elevating to his likely 103.5 to 105 in this, but if Tarzino is off his game then Jameka will be hard to beat.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – Tarzino – 3.2% of total betting bank

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