Australian Derby Tips - biggest Prize awaits Cummings stayer

  • Fitness levels aren't a concern now - but bog track is.
  • Proven over the trip and ready to peak.
  • Confidence rating (Heavy 8 or better): 85%

Prized Icon

Take nothing away from the last start-winning Kiwi gallopers Gingernuts and Jon Snow, but they will have a bigger fight on their hands in Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).

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Gingernuts destroyed his opposition in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) while Jon Snow put a 2.8-length gap on Prized Icon in the Tulloch Stakes (2000m).

However, Prized Icon’s trainer James Cummings made a very valid point in regards to the fitness advantage that pair and a host of Victorian horses have had over their rivals in recent races.

With Sydney’s tracks copping plenty of rain over the past few months, many of the locally-based horses have had interrupted preparations and limited trackwork, while the Victorian and New Zealand-based gallopers have enjoyed near faultless campaigns.

With that in mind, I think Prized Icon and Inference will be the biggest improvers out of their last runs, and at $11 for a two-time Group 1 winner, Prized Icon looks over the odds.

Prized Icon may have been beaten a long way (17 lengths) in the Rosehill Guineas, but he just didn’t handle the bog track (Heavy 10) and was eased out of it a long way from home.

He then improved out of sight on the one-week back-up when finishing 2nd to Jon Snow.

He again faces a one-week back-up, but he’s a robust colt that needs a bit of racing to bring him to his top.

Both of his Group 1 wins have come at his sixth run from a spell on the one-week back-up.

And although he’s only fifth-up into Saturday’s assignment, the two runs in quick succession would have topped him off perfectly and he’s the horse to beat – as long as the track is on the better side of a Heavy 9.

In an ideal world, Cummings would prefer a dry track for the son of More Than Ready, but his last start run on a Heavy track showed he’s not hopeless on rain-affected ground that isn’t bottomless.

Prized Icon is proven over 2500m, and from barrier 6, he should enjoy a soft run in transit before working to the outside of the track and making his run.

If the track were to be worse than a Heavy 8, Inference is the one to beat. 

He’ll strip much fitter for his last start, and his unlucky 3rd placing behind Prized Icon in the Victoria Derby, as well as each run this campaign, clearly show he’s a classy stayer.

Anaheim, Gingernuts, Jon Snow and So Si Bon should all be respected and thrown into the multiples.


2019 Australian Derby

DateSaturday, April 6
TrackRoyal Randwick
Distance2400m
Class Group 1
Race TypeSet Weights
Prizemoney$2 million
Age3YOs




Australian Derby Facts:

A staying race for the three-year-olds, the Australian Derby takes place at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse annually in April during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

It was first run in 1861 when won by Kyogle when it was known as the AJC Randwick Derby Stakes.

In 1865 the race was renamed the AJC Australia Derby Stakes then from 1873 through to 1993 it was called the AJC Derby. 

From 1994 it was known as the AJC Australian Derby.

The race is now known as the ATC Australian Derby or Australian Derby and was taken out in 2015 by New Zealand stayer Mongolian Khan who emulated New Zealand champion Bonecrusher by claiming the New Zealand Derby-Australian Derby double.

New Zealand follow triumph again in 2016 with the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Tavago who caused a massive upset at $31; Tarzino was sent out at $1.65 and ran fourth.

With $2 million in prizemoney, it attracts the best staying three-year-olds from Australia and New Zealand and is part of a fantastic day of racing that includes the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and $1 million Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).

The ATC Australian Derby is a set-weights race run over 2400m and is open to fillies, colts and geldings. 

Males carry 56.5kg in the race and any fillies taking part in the race get a 2kg allowance as they run with 54.5kg on their back.

Some of the runners in the Australian Derby may have contested the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) held a month earlier and the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) held two weeks earlier.

The honour roll is exceptional with numerous Australian Derby winners going on to become household names with the most famous being Phar Lap who won the race in 1929.

Other former winners of the Australian Derby include The Barb (1866), Robinson Crusoe (1876), Grand Flaneur (1880), Poseidon (1906), Gloaming (1918), Heroic (1924), Peter Pan (1932), Tulloch (1957), Dulcify (1979), Kingston Town (1980), Bonecrusher (1986), Mahogany (1994), Octagonal (1996), Starcraft (2004), It’s A Dundeel (2013) and Criterion (2014).

Many of the horses that have won the Australian Derby have gone on to win some of the country’s most prestigious races in the following years with the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup being likely targets.



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Australian Derby Tips - biggest Prize awaits Cummings stayer

Take nothing away from the last start-winning Kiwi gallopers Gingernuts and Jon Snow, but they will have a bigger fight on their hands in Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).

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