THE connections of well bred Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Vande Velde are hoping the gelding can develop into a Tasmanian Derby prospect with the vision exposed after he won the Tattsbet Stakes over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night.
Vande Velde (Four Starzzz Shark-Good Gracious) showed blistering early speed from the mobile to land in front but he didn't have it all his own way as the heavily backed favourite Giuliani ($1.50) raced at his wheel for the last 1200 metres.
But Vande Velde made light of the task and when his driver Nathan Ford called on him to extend he left his rivals in his wake and went on to defeat Giuliani by almost six metres with Springfield Tattoo over a metre away third.
The Christian Salter-trained gelding clocked a mile rate of 2.00.64 and ran home his last half mile (800m) in 59.23.
It was Vande Velde's seventh race start and only his second this season.
"I have had an opinion of this horse from day one but he took time to put it together last season," Salter said.
"We tried to run the gate with him last season but he just got all fired up and went a bit silly so we had to go back to square one and try and teach him to be more settled."
"It's been a process but tonight we wanted to try and run him out of the gate and he handled it well so he is obviously learning and maturing."
"You can't go getting too excited be," he said.
Nathan Ford was a replacement driver for Salter who had to forego the drive due to his commitments in the stables hitching horses up in consecutive races.
Ford said Vande Velde did a good job and gave him the impression there was plenty of improvement left in him.
"This horse will definitely improve on this run because he hit the line with a bit left in the tank and he also ran the gate well," Ford said.
Vande Velde is raced by Marlene Salter and Hobart brothers Greg and Scott Plummer.
"This is my first winner and it feels great," said Greg Plummer.
"I've raced a couple of slow ones and had one die at a young age so it is really great to own one that shows a bit of promise," he said.
Vande Velde was bred by Noel and Marlene Salter and they raced the gelding as a two-year-old but because the Plummers had some bad luck with a couple of horses they offered them a half share of Vande Velde.