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26th May: Eagle Farm challenge for Derby fancy
Published: 26 May 2017 - - Author: NZ Racing Desk


The versatility of the current Gr.1 Queensland Derby favourite Shocking Luck will be fully tested in his final lead-up this weekend to the June 10 classic.

The three-year-old soared to the top of the market following his hollow win in the Gr.3 Rough Habit Plate in soft going at Doomben, but Saturday’s Gr.3 Grand Prix Stakes at Eagle Farm represents a sterner challenge.

Shocking Luck Photo: Grant Peters

“He’s a much better horse on top of the ground and we didn’t think he would handle it last time out,” said Jamie Richards, who trains Shocking Luck with Stephen Autridge.

“It’s going to be worse at Eagle Farm and while we don’t think the two-week turnaround is a problem – he’s thriving and we’re happy - the track isn’t going to come back and it will certainly be cutting out.”

Opie Bosson will again be aboard Shocking Luck and he will also ride Melody Belle (Gr.2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes) and Jimmy Rea (Green Options Handicap).

“Melody Belle is going well, but she’s first-up over 1400 metres on a heavy track,” Richards said.

“She could be a bit vulnerable, but she needs to run and she will improve into the J.J. Atkins, which is her main target over here.

“Jimmy Rea is in good order and he has trialled well. There has to be a bit of a question mark as he hasn’t run for 18 months, but his work has been very good.”

Stablemate Zambezi Warrior was an eye-catching fourth in his Australian debut in the Gr.3 Chairman’s Handicap and he has trained on well since. Jeff Lloyd again takes the reins.

“He ran very well, he doesn’t mind wet ground and the step up to 2200 metres should suit him,” Richards said.

Meanwhile, the ground has already counted out one of the stable’s Gr.3 Fred Best Classic acceptors and the other’s participation is in the balance.

“Hall Of Fame definitely won’t run because of the track and Heroic Valour is doubtful,” Richards said. – NZ Racing Desk.

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