Victoria Derby Tips & Preview 2023

Photo sourced from Lindsay Park racing facebook


Looking for Victoria Derby tips and best bets? We dissect times and form to find the winner of the 2023 Victoria Derby at Flemington.


Riff Rocket is the dominant $2.05 favorite with Dabble after the barrier draw ahead of the last start Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) winner, Apulia, at $4.40, while Verdad is the only other runner under double figures at $7.50. 

A field of 16 have accepted for the time-honored classic for the three-year-olds and it is Sunsets that is at $14 despite defeating Riff Rocket in the Caulfield Classic (2000m) at his most recent start, while Air Assault ($15) and Gates ($17) are among the other key fancies. 


The Caulfield Classic and the Moonee Valley Vase are a key lead up races towards the Victoria Derby. Sunsets was able to pinch the former when leading at a soft tempo before gaining a winning break and holding on in narrow fashion from Riff Rocket. 

Riff Rocket was the $1.35 favourite that day and produced the fastest last 200m but couldn’t quite bridge the gap. The winner went just 1.1 lengths faster than standard benchmark, which was due to the slow early tempo. 

At his previous start, Riff Rocket exploded to win by more than five lengths at Flemington over the 1800m in the Super Impose Stakes, going 9.3 lengths faster than standard benchmark. He gets back to Flemington and ticks boxes from barrier 5 with James McDonald to ride. 

Gates, Tokyo Run, Gold Bullion and To Be Frank also come out of the Caulfield Classic, finishing 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th. Gates produced the second fastest last 400m and the son of Frankel should appreciate the extra 500m. The others will need to improve. 

Four horses are on the one-week back up after racing in the Moonee Valley Vase last weekend and Apulia kicked clear to score by two lengths from Verdad. He was 4th in the Caulfield Classic the week prior but settled handy at the Valley to go 13.5 lengths faster than standard, which is a better figure than what any horse in this race has produced. 

The Team Hayes-trained galloper reeled off the fastest last 600m, 400m and 200m of the race and must be respected on that effort. He draws barrier 3 with Mark Zahra to ride. Verdad settled up front in the Vase and wasn’t disgraced after using up some early petrol tickets. Air Assault and Bulawayo were 3rd and 4th. 

Hard to make a case for the others that come out of separate races. Not quite sure that the Geelong Classic is the right form reference for this with Kosgei (3rd) and Sacred Eagle (4th) coming out of the October 25 race. Kosgei was smashed to the tune of 12 lengths by Riff Rocket at his start prior. 


We can narrow this down to those that come out of the Caulfield Classic and the Moonee Valley Vase. Riff Rocket was dominant at Flemington over the 1800m but willing to risk him at the price. Loved the run by Apulia at Moonee Valley and he is one that has clearly come on since the Super Impose run. I wouldn’t mind having something each-way on Gates. He kept coming off the slow tempo in the Caulfield Classic and with better speed in the race this time around, the Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman-trained galloper can issue the challenge late in the piece.