Co-trainers Natalie Young and Trent Busuttin are hoping to cause a second Derby upset at Randwick.
Natalie Young created Australian Derby history with a long shot, and despite a luckless barrier draw she is hoping to spring another surprise.
The only woman to train an Australian Derby winner, Young and partner Trent Busuttin have three chances to emulate Tavago’s win in 2016.
None of the trio fared well when the gates were allocated with Salsamor drawing 19, Belfast 17 and an out-of-form Main Stage 12 in the field of 18 plus two emergencies.
The Cranbourne-based trainers are not abandoning all hope in the $2 million Group One staying test at Randwick on Saturday.
Belfast appears the best credentialed after finishing strongly to run fifth in the Group Two Tulloch Stakes (2000m) last Saturday.
“He played up in the gates unfortunately and missed the start but I knew he’d run home a really good race and he’s come come through the race brilliantly,” Young said.
“With the wide gate we’ll cuddle him up a bit so he can get that 2400.”
Kerrin McEvoy is optimistic despite the draw and never having ridden the colt.
“He should appreciate 2400 and the big spaces at Randwick and that was a slashing run in the Tulloch,” he said.
Belfast was a $10 chance with the TAB on Thursday on the fourth line of betting behind $4.80 favourite Ace High.
Young said Salsamor ($19) would prefer the cut out of the track but with no rain on the radar the forecast has exacerbated the unlucky draw.
She said Main Stage ($51) was yet to live up to his name but there were mitigating factors for the gelding’s last-start 12th in the Group One Rosehill Guineas (2000m), his first race in Sydney.
“He had travel to contend with and he was third-up. Sometimes they can put in a little bit of a flat one,” Young said.
“We’ve freshened him a little bit and given him a couple of short 600-metre gallops. He’s back to doing handstands walking round.
“We’ve won the Derby with a $31 shot so one of those outsiders might perch up.”
Young fears Ace High while she is also wary of champion New Zealand trainer Murray Baker’s arsenal as he seeks a fifth Derby with either Vin De Dance ($8.50), Mission Hill ($12), Mongolian Marshal ($19) or Weather With You ($21).
Baker has won with Nom Du Jeu (2008), It’s A Dundeel (2013), Mongolian Khan (2015) and Jon Snow last year in partnership with Andrew Forsman.
“Murray’s the Derby king. He’s knows what he’s doing. He’s won that many so any of his four could win to be honest,” Young said.