Melbourne trainer Mark Kavanagh concedes he’s flying blind with emerging stayer Shocking ahead of his assignment in Saturday’s Group One Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm.
Shocking, who will be ridden by Michael Rodd, arrived safely in Brisbane on Tuesday night for the 2400-metre feature.
Kavanagh has only campaigned a horse in Queensland once previously when he sent Royal Harmony north last year for the Group One Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
“Unfortunately she never got to the Oaks and I brought her straight back home after she failed in a lead-up race at Doomben,” he said.
Shocking drew the visitor’s draw in barrier 18 for the Queensland Derby but Kavanagh was undeterred.
“It won’t matter and I’d prefer him to be out wide,” he said.
“It all comes down to whether he handles the heavy track and if he runs the trip.
“It’s hard to get a line on the opposition but 2400 metres should suit him.”
Shocking rocketed into Queensland Derby prominence after recording a brilliant victory over 2000 metres at Caulfield on May 23.
“I’m only guessing he’ll get the trip but he should run it out,” Kavanagh said.
Shocking started his career in May last year and broke through for his first win at his fourth appearance in a two-year-old maiden at Bendigo on April 17.
“He wasn’t in training long enough to consider taking him to Sydney for the autumn,” he said.
Shocking was ridden by Steven King when he was successful at Flemington and Caulfield at his last two appearances but he was overlooked in favour of Rodd for the Queensland Derby.
Kavanagh rated Gold Coast three-year-old Rockdale, who regained his best form to win the Group Three Rough Habit Plate last start, as Shocking’s main danger.
“I’m not sure how my bloke will go in the conditions but Rockdale loves the wet and will be hard to run down if he gets his own way in front,” he said.
Rockdale, a Damian Browne mount, also drew wide in barrier 16 while Larry’s Never Late drew gate seven.
Larry’s Never Late’s rider Nash Rawiller is the leading Group One ride with six wins this season and can increase his lead to two over nearest rival Craig Newitt if he’s successful in the Derby which is one of four Group One races remaining in the season.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast trainer John Wallace wasn’t concerned when rising star Shoot Out drew barrier 11 in Saturday’s Group One TJ Smith Plate (1600m).
Wallace rated Shoot Out the best horse he’s trained after the youngster demoralised his opposition in last week’s Group Two QTC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
“I don’t think the alleys will make any difference on a heavy track,” Wallace said.
“He’s done a treat since he won last week and I couldn’t be happier with him.
“Whatever beats him will win.”
Wallace believes Shoot Out will stay and will aim him for the Group One 2008 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in November.
Toowoomba mudlark Choistar, a Craig Williams mount, drew barrier four while Coffs Harbour colt One Lickety Split drew 13 in the field of 14.
The Gordon Yorke-trained One Lickety Split won his first three starts, including two on slow tracks, before blotting his copybook last start when seventh on a heavy track to Carrara in the Listed Doomben Slipper (1350m) on May 23.
Article by Glenn Davis Aapracing