Simon O’Donnell – Derby Day

Well what a week of racing we have ahead of us!

The Flemington Carnival is the highlight of every Spring, finishing with four days of blockbuster racing and on Saturday we kick off with four Group One’s. The two we are going to concentrate on are the Coolmore Stud Stakes and the Victoria Derby.

Firstly, the Coolmore Stud Stakes has one of the best fields that I can remember for such an event. It’s absolutely chock full of class, and the classiest of them all will be the Mick Price-trained Extreme Choice. His run against the open-class horses in the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley was nothing short of sensational, and if he brings that form again I think he can win the hotly contested event.

Sydney colt Astern from the Godolphin-John O’Shea stable will surely make his presence felt; a lovely specimen and plenty of class to push Extreme Choice to his limits. Also, Star Turn taking on the open-class horses at Caulfield in the Schillaci Stakes last time out showed them all a clean pair of heels, and is my third choice in what is a first class race.

The Victoria Derby over 2500m tests the three-year olds to the limit; none of these horses have run over a journey as far in their careers, and the one that seems to have the form and the pedigree to win is the New Zealand visitor Sacred Elixir. His last start victory at Moonee Valley in the Super Vase – albeit he was uncomfortable in running, but was still able to pick himself up on the tight circuit to find the line well enough for victory – will be good enough form to win the Derby on Saturday.

So Si Bon, who ran well at Moonee Valley in the same race, will be suited by the wide open spaces of Flemington and I expect him to run on and get a little closer to Sacred Elixir. The James Cummings-trained Prized Icon has been there or thereabouts throughout this preparation and deserves his chance on the biggest stage in the Victoria Derby on Saturday.

My SuperPick this week is So Si Bon in the Victoria Derby; I’ll take the 25% Profit Plus option for the place.

Good luck punters!

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