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By Damian Browne | Friday, October 30, 2020

It would be good training effort by Danny O’Brien if Young Werther wins the Victoria Derby.

The New Zealand bred son of Tavistock has only had two runs going into the Derby … a win at Geelong and a second place behind Khoekhoe in the Listed Super Impose when he had a look at the Flemington track.

He was then supposed to run at Moonee Valley, but they scratched him because of the weather conditions so, yeah, it would be a very good training effort to get him home here.

And, worth noting, is the fact that Damian Oliver, who knows how to win a Derby, will ride Werther. Oliver’s Derby winners since the year 2000 include Warning (2019), Preferment (2014), Fiveandahalfstar (2012), Elvstroem (2003) and Amalfi (2001).

Hard to argue against that form, but I actually like the horse that won that day at Moonee Valley … Cherry Tortoni.

I liked the win and, compared to some others, like Young Werther, Cherry Tortoni has got relative race experience on his side having already raced seven times.

I think he will go back to last from that barrier (Cherry Tortoni has draw fourteen out of fourteen). There is usually quite a lot of interference in the first corner of the Derby, for some reason, so he’ll dodge that if it happens.

He ran right through the line at Moonee Valley and I expect a similar performance from him.

If you want to shout for a Queensland connection, Let’s Karaka Deel runs in the colours of the First Start Syndicate which is a racing syndicator business based in Queensland.

You certainly wouldn’t be shouting without a hope because Let’s Karaka Deel must be a realistic chance to nab the $1.2 million first prize. His form looks solid enough and having the Maher / Eustace team preparing him is a plus.

I think he has got a good jockey too. Johnny Allen is a good rider, but he is particularly good on stayers. He rides them very well.


With the Rosehill track currently rated a heavy 8 and with more rain predicted, punters will be giving wet weather form a hard look in the build-up to the Golden Eagle.

Clearly the likes of the first two favourite’s, Funstar and Collette, have good heavy form stats, but I must admit I find wet track form hard to line up sometimes because on occasions they might be winning their races on pure ability and not by actually handling the heavy track itself … and they could then come under pressure in those conditions when tested in better company.

So, I not totally sold on how the wet track form reads.

I think Funstar is probably the favourite because she has been racing against horses like Probabeel, who she ran second to in the Group 1 Epsom. She has been racing in top company pretty much the whole of her career which is what probably gives her the big tick, more than anything else.

Both Funstar and Queensland’s hope Alligator Blood have drawn wide, but I don’t think that matters anymore. In fact, they might be better off out there.

As far picking the winner is concerned, my heart says Alligator Blood but my head says Funstar. I’ll also throw my roughie in there … and that’s Windstorm.


The other big one they have got down there is the Yes Yes Stakes where I though Gytrash would be a good thing after the run in The Everest … but now with the heavy track … who knows … it has never been tried on there.

I’m not certain about the thinking behind taking some of these horses back to the track after The Everest. They obviously would have pulled up well to do so, but the main target for a number of these horses … I think there are three or four I can see … would have been The Everest so, whether this was an afterthought, or not, you just don’t know.

Again, it makes it hard to line them up.

For all of those unknowns though, crowds or no crowds, we can all look forward to a good day’s racing

Hopefully for us, the storms stay away here in Queensland … or at least enough to get through the card at Doomben and not have them called off halfway through like they were last week … because I can tell you, by 5.20pm, it wouldn’t take much of a storm before we would be in trouble with the light.

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Damian Browne
Damian Browne
Tommy Berry ... he rides Funstar

Photos: Graham Potter
Tommy Berry ... he rides Funstar

Photos: Graham Potter
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