by Dean Elliott.
As promised, I will provide a few obscure Derby hopefuls.
My ‘Sydney smokey’ is the Chris Waller trained Preferment.
(Zabeel – Better Alternative by Flying Spur)
On my quest to find an emerging staying talent, I found myself coming back to this promising Zabeel colt.
He does have a few question marks when it comes to ticking off my checklist, however this maiden galloper is worth some consideration.
Let’s see why…
Preferment first came under my radar as a 2 year-old in July when having his second start at Sandown over 1300m.
He ran third to Our Kaboom and Congress, but it was his final 100m that really caught the line.
His staying potential came to the fore, as he really stretched out and ran through the line (a great sign with a 2YO).
After that, Preferment had an 8 week let-up into his 3 year-old spring campaign.
As illustrated in the foundation building section, this is not an ideal amount of time to give a young horse in order to build him up to a Derby campaign.
My only saving grace here is the fact he’s trained by Chris Waller, who last season showed a unique ability to bring Zoustar through a short let-up (of similar length break between 2YO and 3YO) and got him to peak on Derby Day in a Group 1.
The other factor that might be able to get him to Flemington for the big dance is that he could potentially go into the race at his 4th run in.
This relatively low number of lead up runs might counteract/complement the shorter break between 2YO & 3YO campaigns.
But as we see at this time of year, these young horses can be a day-to-day proposition, and whether he can make it to the race in one piece will really heavily on his constitution.
For us outside of the stable this is somewhat of an intangible factor to make a judgement call on, so we’ll have to be reliant on news that comes to hand from the Waller stable.
This campaign, Preferment has had two solid runs in maidens over 1400m and 1580m, finishing second on both occasions.
His most recent run at Canterbury was a desperately unlucky one, being caught 3 and 4 deep for the entire race, only to be narrowly defeated by subsequent Dulcify Stakes runner-up Duccio.
There is little doubt he should have comfortably won this race.
One path into the Derby for Preferment would be to run in the Spring Champion Stakes this weekend, which would then leave 3 weeks to the Derby.
However, Waller has decided to take the easier option and hopefully notch up his first win at Warwick Farm (Today) in a 1600m maiden.
NOTE: Preferment has accepted to run on Wednesday 8th October 2014 at Warwick Farm in Sydney (R4 @ 3.40pm). Hugh Bowman has taken the ride.
Obviously he would need to perform strongly in that event (ie. a dominant win) to entertain the thought of pressing on to Melbourne.
Given the distance of 1600m, he would need to have one more run in Melbourne in order to be ready for the 2500m.
A race like the Group 3 Moonee Valley Vase would give him two and-a-half weeks between runs to get settled into Melbourne again, however would then only leave this inexperienced galloper seven days to back up to the big one.
Preferment looks like the further the races are, the better he will be.
He always finds the line strongly, which is no surprise being by Zabeel.
His dam Better Alternative (Flying Spur) has produced full sister Rezoned, winner of the 2500m Group 3 SA Fillies Classic last season.
There is little doubt that Preferment’s best distance in time will be 2400m and beyond.
My concerns with Preferment are;
Time will tell, however I believe he’s a good staying prospect to have on the radar.
If not the spring, then certainly the autumn.
Article written by Dean Elliott (BDM at William Hill and Horse Racing & Breeding enthusiast)