A capacity field of 18 has been confirmed to line up for the major 2014 Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on day 1 of the inaugural The Championships at Royal Randwick this weekend, offering punters several particularly generous chances to place a winning bet.
Having returned to the track in typically strong form this season, talented three-year old Criterion currently leads betting markets for success in the 2014 Australian Derby; cutting in from opening odds of $4 to currently feature at a quote of $3.60.
Unlucky not to claim a Group 1 victory prior to his current preparation, Criterion produced a consistent 2013 spring preparation, finishing second in both the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) most notably.
Unlucky to finish second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, the exciting Sebring colt was unable to overcome an awkward jump and poor field position in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m), but broke through for a maiden win at the highest level of Australian racing last time out, strolling home to win the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) by nearly four lengths.
Allocated the ideal inside barrier for the 2014 Australian Derby, Criterion is in prime position to continue his strong run of form this weekend, and still offers punters sensational value at current odds.
Disappointing in his Australian debut when twelfth in the Rosehill Guineas, Puccini has received huge support from punters since Australian Derby betting markets first opened on Wednesday, who jumped all over opening odds of nearly $7 to instil the classy three-year-old as clear $6 market mover.
Securing a total of five wins and four places from only 15 race starts to date, Puccini will be partnered by leading jockey Craig Williams for this first time this weekend, and will leave from the central barrier 11.
A proven performer over 2400 metres, Puccini claimed the Group 1 New Zealand Derby in his final appearance in his homeland before crossing the ditch for a tilt at major Australian events.
Having outlined an appearance in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 19th as a highly possible follow-up event, trainer Peter McKay is optimistic of the Encosta De Lago colt’s chances this weekend, particularly in returning to his pet distance.
Finishing second to Criterion in the Rosehill Guineas most recently, Anthony Cummings-trained Thunder Fantasy arguably offers punters the best value for money in 2014 Australian Derby betting markets at $8 odds, or $2.80 for a place.
Experiencing something of a meteoric rise to prominence in his maiden year, Thunder Fantasy won each of his opening two spring races before building towards an impressive third in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m); his maiden tilt at the top level of racing.
While yet to record a Group 1 victory, the exciting Lucky Owners colt appears on the verge of breaking the drought, and has returned to the track in arguably career best form this time in; winning the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) and finishing third in the Australian Guineas most notably prior to his last appearance.
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