Australian Derby Tips – star to emerge at Randwick
Looking for Australian Derby Tips on Saturday, April 4? Our form expert has previewed the staying feature at Randwick and given his best bet for the race.
AUSTRALIAN DERBY PREVIEW
Deep down, I’m confident we will see the emergence of a star in Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick.
The Richard Litt-trained CASTELVECCHIO has already proven himself as a talented racehorse having won the $2 million Inglis Millennium (1200m) at his second race start as well as defeating Loving Gabby in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at his fifth start.
He raced quite dour over shorter trips next campaign but improved third-up when finishing 2nd to Shadow Hero in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
As an emerging three-year-old, he then took on the best in the Cox Plate where a bold ride by Craig Williams saw him defeat all bar Japanese star Lys Gracieux.
PEAK BENCHMARK (BM) PERFORMANCES
Castelvecchio’s Cox Plate effort rated 14.1 lengths quicker than standard BM and was 1.5 lengths quicker than G1 BM for that track and distance.
Admittedly, he only had to carry 49.5kg in the Cox Plate, but he still more than doubled his previous best over the distance and clearly improves deeper into his preparations.
Of Saturday’s rivals, Warning and Diasonic have personal best BM performances of 9.8 lengths quicker than standard.
Warning posted his peak performance over 2000m in the Norman Robinson before taking out the VRC Derby (2500m) which rated a few lengths below.
Warning has posted strong figures over 2000m on two occasions, but Castelvecchio’s final 600m sectionals have been five to six lengths quicker.
The only final 600m that rated lower was in the Cox Plate where Williams took off at the 1200m mark and Castelvecchio ran the quickest sectional between the 1200m and 1000m.
That softened him up late, but it was still a herculean effort to keep going.
CASTELVECCHIO’S FORM THIS CAMPAIGN
Much like last preparation, Castelvecchio needed a couple of warm up runs to get back into the swing of things.
Ratings analysts would have started to question how Castelvecchio was travelling after the Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and Randwick Guineas (1600m), as these were Castelvecchio’s lowest rating performances of his career.
But third-up over 2000m, he bounced back to winning form with a dominant win in the Rosehill Guineas as he improved by more than six lengths on his previous start.
If his first and second campaigns are anything to go by, Castelvecchio will go to a new level fourth-up.
And his breeding suggests the step up to 2400m for the first time will be right up his alley.
His sire, Dundeel, absolutely demolished the 2013 Australian Derby field and it remains one of the most dominant performances I’ve witness on the racetrack.
Castelvecchio’s dam, St Therese, has produced Mirrasalo whose best effort came when winning the Group 3 Tatt’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm, as well as Maid Of Heaven who won the Group 1 Spring Champion.
Everything about Castelvecchio suggests he’ll relish the step up in trip, and I think we are on the verge of witnessing something special.
Quick Thinker was my best bet at Rosehill last Saturday and he won impressively and boasts the best last start BM performance of any Derby hopeful.
James McDonald rode him for Murray Baker who also gave McDonald the ride on It’s A Dundeel in the 2013 Derby, and now McDonald jumps off to ride Castelvecchio.
Warning is proven at the trip and must be respected for that reason, but I can’t see him turning the tables on Castelvecchio after finishing 3.7 lengths away last start.
Shadow Hero has beaten Castelvecchio previously and could pounce if the favourite has an off day, and if there’s a value chance I could have something on, it’s Eric The Eel at $27.
WHO WILL WIN THE AUSTRALIAN DERBY?
Peak pattern and peak BM performances suggest Castelvecchio is the one to beat, and he’s found form at the right time and is likely to go to a new level on Saturday.
The only query is the distance, but everything he’s done to date suggests he’s got the best stamina in the race, and a quiet ride behind the speed should see him explode away from them in the straight.
Australian Derby Tips: