Busuttin & Young prepared for more Derby success

Main Stage

THE luck of the draw may not have played entirely in their favour, but ex-pat Kiwi training duo Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young are confident they have the firepower to add another Derby trophy to their cabinet.

The pair have three confirmed starters in the prestigious Group One Victoria Derby at Flemington on Saturday in Main Stage, Sully and Johnny Vinko, although it could be four if Beachwood can make the field from the first emergency position.

Busuttin admitted he was feeling relatively confident with their three main contenders until the barrier draw on Tuesday.

Well-fancied duo Main Stage and Sully fared worst, drawing gates 14 and 15 respectively while Johnny Vinko landed a plum position at gate number four.

Main Stage ($4.80 at William Hill) remains the favourite for Saturday’s feature while Sully ($6.50 at William Hill) is on the third line of betting.

“There is nothing you can do about the draw as it is what it is,” he said.

“We have the horses at peak fitness and we were delighted with their work on Tuesday, so it will be up to the riders to make of it what they will.”

Michael Walker will ride Main Stage and Hugh Bowman will partner Sully while Stephen Baster is on Johnny Vinko.

Busuttin said that the wide draw will play a role in the tactics employed on Saturday.

“You can’t worry about things like the barrier although it will certainly dictate how the horses are ridden,” he said.

“From out wide I would expect Main Stage and Sully to go back while Johnny Vinko should be able to position himself in a nice handy spot off the back of the speed.

“Once they’ve found their positions it’s game on from there. We have some of the best in the business aboard, so we trust them to make the right decisions on how they see the race panning out.”

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Busuttin and Young are no strangers to Derby success having scored in the 2011 edition of the event with Sangster while they produced Tavago to win the 2016 Group One ATC Derby at Randwick.

The duo also produced the Group One New Zealand Derby runner-up earlier this year when Rising Red beat all but Gingernuts home in the Ellerslie feature.

“I guess we have a bit of an affinity with races like the Derby, but that is because we buy well-bred New Zealand horses who have shown time and time again that they have an edge when it comes to these sort of races,” Busuttin said.

“All four of our horses were sourced from sales at Karaka and when we bought them it was with the three-year-old classics like the VRC Derby in mind.

“To be able to get three and possibly four runners into the race says a lot about just how good the young kiwi stayers are.”

Pressed as to which of his charges he feels can provide him with Derby success, Busuttin was reluctant to be too effusive.

“Both Main Stage and Sully have been very good in their lead up runs and I guess the bookmakers have reflected that,” he said.

“Although they are both going to need luck I expect them to be right there in the fight.

“Johnny Vinko will also surprise a few despite disappointing a little in the Geelong Classic last time. He never really had the run to suit and with his good draw I think he can definitely improve on that effort.”

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