Derby prospects to contest Wellington Stakes

Peloton will contest the Group 3 Lucia Valentina Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki on Friday. Photo: Trish Dunell

Cambridge trainer Andrew Campbell will head south to Otaki on Friday to line-up two Derby prospects in the Group 3 Lucia Valentina Wellington Stakes (1600m).

Peloton heads into the race off the back of a runner-up performance at Te Rapa last month and Campbell said the son of Charm Spirit will be ridden positively from gate eight on Friday. “He will go to the front, he’ll lead them up and be pretty handy. He’s fit and well and I couldn’t be happier with him. “He went a good race last start. It’s just hard this time of year for three-year-olds to compete against older horses at the weights, but I thought he went really well. “He has had a brief let-up since then and his work has been super.”

Campbell will also line-up Tibetan, with the Waikato conditioner believing the addition of blinkers will benefit the son of Shocking. “He will go to Otaki as well,” Campbell said. “I know there will be plenty of pace on in the race and he gets back. “We galloped him with blinkers yesterday (Tuesday) and he grew another leg, so that’s the reason why we will go. “With a bit of pace on and blinkers on, it will improve him a couple of lengths. He is probably the better chance I am picking.”

Campbell is also looking forward to stepping up Tibetan over more ground, but believes his charge will still be hard to beat over a mile on Friday. “He has just been improving and improving,” he said. “Once we get him over ground I think we’ll see a different horse, but that is why we have put the blinkers on, to sharpen him up over a mile and be competitive. “I think he is the one to watch long-term, once we get over ground. It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes a cheeky race on Friday with blinkers added for the first time. His work suggested he will be hard to beat.”

Meanwhile, Campbell also has promising juvenile Preakness dual accepted at Otaki and Ellerslie, although he has yet to make a final decision on where he will line-up. “I am undecided on him as yet. He has drawn well at Otaki (barrier two), so I am leaning towards there,” Campbell said.

Preakness has won two trials leading into his raceday debut. “His first win was super impressive. He beat a couple of horses that have come out and performed on race day,” Campbell said. “In the second trial he just did what he had to do. He jumped and led and won easy enough. His work since then has been good.”

Purchased at Karaka earlier this year for $80,000 out of The Oaks Stud 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft, Preakness is Karaka Million eligible and will be targeted towards the rich race in January. “We are hoping to try and get a ticket into the Karaka Million,” he said. “We have got one in already after Trident won at Ellerslie, so it would be nice for a small stable to have a couple.”

Campbell is confident of a good showing from the son of Darci Brahma on debut, irrespective of the venue. “I would like to think he would be hard to beat. I think he will be a great chance, on his trial form,” he said. “His work is well and he is sound, which is hard to see in two-year-olds this time of year. His shins are 100 percent, so I think whatever race we go in he should be very competitive.”