Thursday, 24 May 2012
The Queensland Derby picture should become clearer for trainer Peter Moody following the Group Three Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben.
Moody, the country's leading Group One trainer who won the Queensland Derby with Riva San in 2008, has three runners in Saturday's 2200m feature - Brambles, Vatuvei and Soros.
In early TAB Sportsbet markets, Brambles is the $4 favourite with stablemate Soros on the second line at $4.60 while Vatuvei is a $7 chance.
Moody's stable manager Jeff O'Connor is not overly concerned by the prospect of a rain-affected track with the Brisbane weather bureau forecasting up to 30 millimetres of rain to fall on Friday before it clears on race day.
Vatuvei is the best wet track performer of the Moody trio winning twice on heavy ground in a maiden at Sale and last start in the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington on Anzac Day.
Brambles has a slow track placing to his credit and finished third on a heavy track to Trump in the Group Three Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm prior to his last start win in the Group Three Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben.
Soros won on a slow track against his own age over 2000 metres at Flemington on May 5.
"Rain is of no real concern," O'Connor said.
"Brambles is still looking to settle in his races but he's in form.
"Hopefully he'll be in a winning position turning for home. He got a lovely run when he won the Rough Habit and if he can improve, look out."
O'Connor is also hopeful of strong performances from Soros and Vatuvei.
"Soros won well when he beat Durnford last start at Flemington and we should have his measure again from the alleys," he said.
"Vatuvei is a dead-set stayer and he might need this run before progressing to the Derby.
"He really needs the extra trip and will run all day.
"But he could well put in a run in this race to say he's real Derby material."
O'Connor conceded he had some reservations about Vatuvei handling the right-handed direction the first time.
"It's the first time he's going this way but normally they improve for their second run," he said.
Check out our FREE full form
, ratings for meetings in nine countries each and every day.