by Dean Elliott.
I cannot stress the importance of this section.
There is no one way to prepare a horse for this, but there are 1) some ‘non-negotiables’ and 2) things to stay clear of.
Below is a table of the past 6 winners and some key stats relating to their preparations:
|Horse||Preps||2yo runs||Gap 2 to 3||Prep runs to Derby||Days to Derby|
|Distance seq: 1200m, 1600m, 1800m, 2000m|
|Distance seq: 1200m, 1250m, 1500m, 1600m, 1900m, 1800m|
|SANGSTER (NZ trained)||2||2||11 weeks||5||14|
|Distance sequence: 1200m, 1400m, 1800m, 2000m, 2000m|
|LION TAMER (NZ trained)||3||5||17 weeks||5||7|
|Distance sequence: 1200m, 1400m, 1800m, 2000m, 2040m|
|MONACO CONSUL (NZ)||2||2||18 weeks||3||28|
|Distance sequence: 1400m, 1600m, 2000m|
|REBEL RAIDER||3||4||18 weeks||4||10|
|Distance sequence: 1450m, 1453m, 1800m, 2206m|
Some key points to take out of this are:
Sangster (NZ trained) aside, the above table show how important it is to have a decent break into your 3yo season (14 weeks plus).
This gives a horse the chance to recuperate and mature into a strong 3YO colt or gelding, as well as giving the trainer an adequate amount of time to prepare and set the foundation.
This means a good balance of time in the paddock and time on the training track.
Not laying these foundations simply means the horse will most likely have a racing preparation that lasts for a relatively shorter amount of time.
Don’t take it from me though, this is a theory that Bart Cummings helped develop over a number of years.
Furthermore, it is no surprise that those trainers who adopt this gentle build up/laying of foundation approach have achieved great success in recent times (Waller, who has taken it to a new level, along with Moody, Hawkes, etc.)
Unfortunately this all seems to cancel out the two year-olds that competes deep into the Queensland carnival from having a chance, seeing as they race well into June.
One of these days we’ll get an exception to the rule, but it hasn’t been done for a long time.
In regards to the Aussie trained horses, there was very little Group 1 form as a two-year-old.
It has been shown time and time again that these progressive three-year-olds can quickly leapfrog into a different class level as the distances of races increase.
Don’t be afraid to pluck one out of relative obscurity if they seem to fit the profile!
Next up we look at ‘Record of those not suited/ready for Derby‘.
Article written by Dean Elliott (BDM at William Hill and Horse Racing & Breeding enthusiast)