Whatever runs in Saturday’s Victoria Derby has done well to even make it to the famous Flemington race.
The Victoria Derby’s 2500m trip is a tough test for immature three-year-olds with plenty starting the journey but only relatively few run in the $2 million event.
Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr’s contender Redwood Shadow is a case in point. Kent Jr said the veteran of just three starts has surprised the stable with his durability leading up to Saturday’s race.
“I think we had nine nominated and every run with these immature spring three-year-olds is a ‘fork in the road’ run where you either go to the (spelling) paddock or push on,” Kent Jr said.
“We’ve got eight in the paddock and one left.
“He’s the one and probably the one we least expected to get to the Derby at the start of the prep.”
Redwood Shadow started his campaign with a pleasing third to talented stablemate Cambourne at Donald on September 4 before a soft maiden win at Ballarat on September 30.
The son of NZ-based stallion Redwood headed to Caulfield, where he was narrowly beaten in the Group 3 Neds Classic (2000m) on October 17.
Redwood Shadow was an impressive maiden winner at Ballarat two starts back. Photo: Pat Scala/Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Kent Jr said every run was a test for Derby-bound three-year-olds but Redwood Shadow has continued to pass each examination.
“With Redwood Shadow it was always our plan to space his runs because he’s an immature Kiwi-bred that will be better in the autumn,” Kent Jr said.
“Every time we raise the bar, he’s jumped over it.”
The Victoria Derby is often a contest of formlines between the Neds Classic, or Norman Robinson Stakes, or the Moonee Valley Vase.
Kent Jr said running in the Caulfield race suited Redwood Shadow’s preparation but the Moonee Valley Vase has produced plenty of Derby winners over the years.
“We’re not sure how it bodes for the Derby, but he’s improved anyway since the Caulfield Classic,” Kent Jr said.
“Mick always says it’s amazing how good the record of Vase horses is in the Derby.
“We’re not sure how testing (the Vase) was and you need the right horse to cope with the seven-day back-up.”
Redwood Shadow is an $11 chance in TAB’s latest Victoria Derby market. Young Werther is the $3 favourite despite being a late scratching from the Moonee Valley Vase due to the deteriorating track.
Originally published asShadow looms over Victoria Derby
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