Quick Strike’s fast-closing fourth in the Tulloch Stakes has earned him a start in the Australian Derby but his biggest stumbling block is likely to be his Chris Waller-trained stablemate Preferment.
The Victoria Derby winner assumed favouritism for Saturday’s Derby with his close second to New Zealander Volkstok’n’barrell in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
Waller believes Preferment is peaking at the right time and is ready to show his best over the 2400 metres of the Classic at Randwick.
Preferment is a son of Zabeel and like most of that breed has needed time.
“He has really matured now,” Waller said.
“Leading up to the Victoria Derby he did a few things wrong but he has grown up a lot.
“On Quick Strike’s Tulloch run he deserves his chance in the Derby.
“He’s by High Chaparral and the distance should not be a problem.”
The Derby double has been elusive with Mahogany in 1993 the last horse to follow his Flemington win with victory at Randwick the following autumn.
Preferment is at $3.20 to repeat Mahogany’s feat with Volkstok’n’barrell at $4.20.
The big market mover has been Tulloch winner Hauraki who is now at $4.80.
The Godolphin colt will also have to defy recent history with Starcraft in 2004 the last horse to complete the Tulloch Stakes/Derby double.
Hauraki is by Reset, a son of Zabeel and the sire of Rebel Raider who won the 2005 Victoria Derby and the South Australian version the following autumn.
After two below-par starts in Melbourne in February when he struggled in the clockwise direction, Hauraki returned to Sydney to run second to the Waller-trained Winx in the Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) before his decisive win in the Tulloch (2000m).
Former Derby favourite and the winner of the New Zealand equivalent, Mongolian Khan, is out to $9 with Tulloch runner-up Omeros at $11 and Quick Strike at $15.
Damien Oliver sticks with Preferment while Tye Angland rides Quick Strike.