HAMILTON-trained colt The Fat Man will start from the pole in the third heat of the Nicola Victoria Derby tomorrow night at Melton’s Tabcorp Park, and driver Matthew Craven is hoping the son of American Ideal can extend his two-win streak.
Craven said the up-and-comer from the David Lewis stable had impressed in both his wins this time in, including a last-start triumph at Hamilton on Wednesday from a wide draw.
“He won’t have taken any harm from the two runs that’s for sure,” Craven said.
“He’s gone well both times. Obviously this is a step up in class but he should get a good run from the draw.”
The Fat Man took out the Terang Silver Vase at Melton two starts back by over 9m before Wednesday’s workmanlike performance at his home track.
Highly rated Bettors Delight gelding Our Maxim, from the Barry Purdon barn in Auckland, impressive last-start Mt Gambier Derby winner Major Secret from the Emma Stewart team, and outstanding New South Wales Art Major three-year-old Lettucerockthem are The Fat Man’s stiffest competition in the third heat.
Lettucerockthem is from the in-form Belinda McCarthy yard, and the Cobbitty stable must be thrilled with their Derby prospects with Bling It On expected to be hot favourite in the first heat from barrier four.
The brilliant Breeders Crown champion from last season blitzed his rivals at Cranbourne last time out by 36.7m in 1:57, coming home in 54.4.
And giving the McCarthys an even stronger Derby hand will be Allblack Stride in the second heat, who has drawn barrier two.
The last-start Cranbourne winner came home in 55.2 in scoring by 16.9m after running third in the Simpson Memorial behind Iam Mr Brightside and Lettucerockthem in the Simpson Memorial at Menangle two runs back.
And astute Heywood trainer Kevin Brough will be hoping to produce the knockout blow with Paua Fella in the second heat, the last-start SA Derby winner to be driven by Craven.
The first heat of the Derby kicks off a huge Hunter Cup program tomorrow night at 6.05pm
By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)