Hugh Bowman concedes Vanbrugh may be vulnerable at the distance of Saturday’s 2016 Australian Derby (2400m), but is confident the colt will line up for the Group 1 feature race on Day 1 of The Championships in peak condition.
Vanbrugh stamped himself as a colt to follow through the recent Spring Carnival and has continued to steadily build to the take upon resuming this time for tenth in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m), sixth in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and fourth in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) most recently.
Underlining the Mick Price-trained Tarzino as the horse to beat in the 2016 Australian Derby, Bowman told Racing Ahead he believes Vanbrugh is positioned well to improve for success in the feature race for three-year-olds.
“I’ve got very healthy respect for Tarzino – he’ll be short-priced favourite and deservedly so,” Bowman said.
“My horse is a slight query at the distance but if I can get him to really settle and switch off, he’s certainly got the class.
“I think Tarzino will improve off his last run – that’s my worry. If he doesn’t though, my horse will.”
Trialling well in the lead-up to her competitive debut, Vanbrugh charged home to win the ATC Employee Long Service Maiden (1200m) before finishing fifth in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m).
Resuming in late winter for second in the McGrath Estate Agents 2.y.o Handicap (1200m), the son of Encosta De Lago progressed to fourth in a Canterbury minor over 1250m before a lacklustre run for sixth in the Listed Rosebud (1200m) on August 8th.
Electing to send the colt for a brief freshen-up, trainer Chris Waller saddled Vanbrugh to second in the TAB Rewards BM68 (1580m) and wins in each of the All Too Hard @ Vinery BM70 (1600m), Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
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