The three heats of tonight’s NSW Derby didn’t really bring any surprises as the favourites secured their spots in next weekend’s Group I NSW Derby final.
Some talented three-year-olds were at Menangle to do battle – and they took no-nonsense approaches as they went on their winning ways.
Patsbeachstorm won the first heat as an odds-on favourite and his win made up for a horror week for trainer-driver David Moran, who was forced to miss the Miracle Mile with his stable star Lochinvar Art.
Patsbeachstorm settled three back on the pegs behind Act Now and Watts Up Sunshine and when nothing came up to box him in, Moran was able to make his run exactly when it suited him as Patsbeachstorm downed Act Now and Watts Up Sunshine in a 1:53.5 mile rate.
And fellow Victorian Clayton Tonkin looked to have a future star to take the place of his injured superstar Ride High when Idyllic cruised around in the second heat in a leisurely 1:57.4 mile to secure his spot in next week’s $200,000 NSW Derby final.
The fact they were almost four seconds slower than the first heat was irrelevant, Idyllic did the job in style and that was all that mattered.
“He’s quite casual, I was tapping him along,” said reinsman Luke McCarthy, who took the reins for Tonkin.
“The best he travelled was when Amanda Turnbull [Lyrical Genius] came up beside him and he grabbed the bit and finished the race off really nicely then.
“You could feel he was travelling well and had the horse outside him covered so I didn’t bother pulling the blind, so we have that up his sleeve for next week’s final.”
The third heat saw yet another favourite, local hope Tasty Delight for Brian Portelli take the lead and run them along as he pleased before cruising home in a 1:55.9 mile rate to beat Kashed Up and Jacks Hawks, just ahead of Kimble.
After a first half of his last mile in 60.4 seconds (splits of 31.3 and 29.1), Portelli was able to up the ante going up the back straight and he was never in danger of being run down as he crossed the line with six and three-quarter metres to spare from the runner-up Kashed Up who shot through on the inside to nail second right on the line.
With the three short-priced favourites all through to next week’s finale, the barrier draw should be all important with Tasty Delight bound to be well-fancied to add another feature to his resume.