The Derby Tank
Published: 28 Oct 2014
The 'Derby Tank' - Is Hampton Court, the solidly-built Gai Waterhouse gelding, an immovable object?
The Spring Carnival moves now moves to Flemington after Caulfield and Moonee Valley have hosted their main events. A massive week of racing awaits, which kicks off with the Derby this Saturday. A classic contest for the three-year old colts and geldings over 2500 metres.
Early markets have Gai Waterhouse's Hampton Court as favourite after he beat First Seal and Sweynesse in the Group 1 Spring Champion. He has been more and more impressive every start this campaign and looms as a huge chance to win.
The big question is, can he be beaten?
The Race Guide team looks at the Race Factors that will influence the result.
How good was the Spring Champion win?
On face value, very good! He beat two very high-quality gallopers easily and Sweynesse has since come out and run well in the Cox Plate. The only issue our Analysts have with the win is the Fast Tempo which was set-up by Panzer Division. Hampton Court was well ridden by Josh Parr to come with one last swoop and the runs of First Seal and Sweynesse rated higher in their books. And don't forget - Hampton Court was at his home track that day.
Powerful finish - Hampton Court surges past Sweynesse and First Seal to win the Spring Champion
Can he run the distance?
Gai has taken her time with him, warming up to a big win in the Spring Champion Stakes over 2000 metres. However, based on his conformation alone you might think he is risk to perform over the 2500 metres of the Derby. He is a very solidly-built Redoute's Choice colt with immense strength and muscle, suggesting that eight to ten furlongs might be ideal. His X-factor is a link to three-time Melbourne Cup winner Maybe Diva's family on his Dams side.
Any other risks?
Gallopers from the Waterhouse stable, or any other Sydney stable, don't always transition to Melbourne and hold the same level of form. Added to that, the three weeks between runs could present a challenge to keep him at his peak level of fitness.
What can beat him?
Arguably it is not a classic Derby field and on form-lines alone Hampton Court is a stand-out. His handicap rating suggests he should beat them by a few lengths.
But racing is never that easy and as the youngsters step up in distance, performances can change. The key chances at 2500 metres from the lead-up races are:
- Geelong Classic - Preferment and Nozomi
- Vase - Moonovermanhattan, Bondeiger, Atmosphere and Royal Standing
- Caulfield Classic - Firehouse Rock, Magicool and Bachman
Chris Waller's Zabeel colt Preferment has shown real stamina in all of his runs to date, while Nozomi, Royal Standing, Firehouse Rock and Magicool all have the scope to become strong stayers. Bachman and Moonovermanhattan have produced form ratings recently that could compete with the favourite, but both are question marks at the distance.
As always, it always comes down to the right price. $2.80 now (@Luxbet) is a little bit short, but the same price once he has walked into the mounting yard looking fit and well is a whole different ball game.
The early value is Royal Standing ($35 @ Luxbet), Firehouse Rock ($21 @ Luxbet) and Bachman ($15 @ Luxbet).