The racing spotlight shifts this week to Eagle Farm for the running of the Group 1 Queensland Derby. Can anyone stop the talented Kovalica, who looks to have the time-honoured race at his mercy? With the Sires’ Produce and Kingsford Smith Cup also on the program, this is the perfect way to start the Eagle Farm winter carnival!
Eagle Farm Race 6
Solidify is making every post a winner! The New Zealand visitor has easily won his last two outings at Te Rapa, and he looks ready to stamp his authority in a decent race on Saturday. The step out in the distance looks ideal at this stage of his preparation, and the Redwood colt should get the run of the race from barrier four. The soft conditions are advantageous, and early betting has supported him well. The rise in class is the slight query.
Chrysaor will start favourite after an effortless display at Gosford. The Better Than Ready colt put his rivals to the sword a long way from home, and he looks untapped. The Chris Waller trained two-year-old looks dangerous jumping from the perfect inside barrier, and with even luck in transit, I expect him to figure. He is undefeated second-up, and I expect the money to continue with the inform Nash Rawiller aboard. The current track conditions could be his undoing.
Armed Forces looks over the odds. The I Am Invincible colt snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at his latest, and he can bounce back over the further trip. He looks to have further improvement to come for the preparation, and if he can find cover from the wide barrier, he can threaten.
Suggested Bet: Solidify @ $4.80
Eagle Farm RACE 7
Kovalica looks to have a mortgage on the feature event of the day! The Ocean Park gelding has been building towards a peak run in the Derby, and he showed his class and resilience last week against the older and proven weight-for-age horses. He looks incredibly well placed against his own age and sex, and he is yet to produce a below-par performance. He is the real deal, and only bad luck in running will stop him on Saturday.
The Vowels looks over the odds despite jumping from the carpark. The Better Than Ready gelding put four wins together earlier in the campaign, and he has been game in defeat at his latest outings. The step out to 2400m looks advantageous, and he should be rock-hard fit at this stage of his preparation. If he can sit midfield with some cover, I expect him to make his presence felt when the whips are cracking.
Stroke Of Luck is a must for all broader multiples and exotics. The Fastnet Rock gelding is flying under the radar, and he can take the next step in grade on Saturday. I expect him to box seat from barrier four, and if Ben Melham angles him out at the right time, he can run a drum at a price. Over the odds!
Suggested Bet: Kovalica @ $1.65
Eagle Farm Race 8
#7 King Of Sparta
King Of Sparta is knocking on the door! The I Am Invincible gelding was brilliant behind a smart one in the William Reid, and he was only narrowly beaten in the Victory Stakes at his latest outing. He is ready to explode over the 1300m, and his recent trial will have him cherry ripe for a tilt at Group 1 glory! I am unsure an inside barrier draw is advantageous.
Rothfire is back to his best! The Rothesay gelding was game in defeat fresh, and his second-up win facing the breeze was as tough as they come. From a middle gate, he can roll forward and fight for the lead, and if he finds pole position uncontested, it will take a good horse to run him down. His record at the distance is the primary concern.
Eduardo can turn back the clock. The evergreen galloper never runs a bad race, and I expect the rising 10-year-old to be front and centre in the early speed battle. He may break his rivals’ hearts if he can reign supreme during the early stages. The 1300m might be his undoing.
Suggested Bet: King Of Sparta @ $8.50
Eagle Farm Race 9
Brookspire can resume a winner. Her two trials leading into this event have been teasing, and her first-up record must be respected. The sting from the ground plays into her favour, and she looks well placed jumping from barrier four. The Hinchinbrook mare is building an impressive career record, and she can continue on her winning ways Saturday with even luck in transit. Her record at the distance is the only deterrent.
Hellfest can bounce back after a luckless run fresh. She strips fitter, and the step out in distance looks ideal second-up from a spell. The James Cummings polish will attract further market support, and the Fastnet Rock mare has plenty of options jumping from a middle gate. If Tim Clark can bring her out to the middle of the track at the right time, she can unleash her powerful turn of foot and score.
Roots can bounce back after a rare last-start flop. The Press Statement mare oozes class; her best form reads incredibly well for this event. A drop in distance is advantageous, and I expect her to be fully wound up after a little freshen-up. Barrier twelve makes her task slightly harder.
Suggested Bet: Brookspire @ $4.80