Day At The Track

Derby proves the best option for filly

08:10 AM 05 Feb 2009 NZDT
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Regardless what happens in Saturday night's $150,000 Group 1 Alabar Victoria Derby, Broadways Best has already vindicated the decision of connections to take on the boys. The only filly to have contested a Derby heat since 1997, the Shannon McLean-trained daughter of Village Jasper booked her spot in the final with a second placing to Franco Newsman in the fastest heat at Ballarat last week.

She will now strive to become the first filly since Yeronga Songbird to fill a placing in Victoria's premier event for three-year-olds. Yeronga Songbird finished third to Sharp And Telford and Mon Poppy Day in the 1996 Derby.

But while vindicated, South Gisborne-based McLean said Broadways Best's job was not done.

"I think she proved last week what we thought and showed a few other people what she's capable of," McLean said.

"It's a weight off our shoulders to get into the final, but we think we've got a live chance of at least running a place or maybe even winning."

Broadways Best, to be driven by two-time Derby winner Chris Alford, will roll from barrier five in the 2575m event at 8.02pm.

That's one starting position inside prohibitive favourite Captain Joy, which McLean thinks could be a blessing.

"She's got plenty of speed and we'll be looking to utilise that," he said. "Captain Joy is outside us, so maybe he can follow us out and we'll have the option of handing up or positioning up just off them."

Despite McLean's optimism, Broadways Best is a juicy $26 chance in TAB Sportsbet's fixed odds market.

Captain Joy is deep in the red at $1.50, with polemarker Hung Jury ($8), South Australian Derby winner Living On Fire ($9) and West Australian raider Crown Bromac ($9) the only others under $15.

McLean also has Broadways Best's older half-sister Broadway Play engaged on Saturday night, with the daughter of Safely Kept the $2.80 favourite in the $20,000 Angelique Club Cup for mares.

Despite being awkwardly drawn in barrier 11, McLean is confident she will run a bold race after finishing third to Few Good Men and Report For Duty in last week's The Pure Steel at Ballarat.

Brad Bishop

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