Promising stayer Thinkin’ Big (r) can give Gai Waterhouse a second Victoria Derby.
Connections of the appropriately named Thinkin’ Big are doing just that with the talented colt who is favoured to win the Victoria Derby.
And if successful in Saturday’s $2 million classic at Flemington, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained colt could step out in the $7.3 million Melbourne Cup three days later.
“We haven’t given that a huge amount of thought yet,” Bott said.
“We want to get through the first goal but we’ve obviously left the option open, so it will be considered.”
No southern hemisphere three-year-old has run in the Melbourne Cup this century but Waterhouse finished second in 1995 with Nothin’ Leica Dane after he won the Derby.
Nothin’ Leica Dane is Waterhouse’s only Victoria Derby winner and Thinkin’ Big has family ties to him, with the colt’s second dam Nothin’ Leica Ripa one of his daughters.
Thinkin’ Big raced to a dominant win in the Group Three Caulfield Classic (2000m) eight days ago to cement favouritism for Saturday’s Derby (2500m).
He was at $3 on Sunday with Aramayo on the second line at $6.
“He’s come through the Caulfield race in great shape and he’s heading into the race as good as he can be,” Bott said.
“Hopefully we’ve got the right horse.”
Thinkin’ Big had held a Cox Plate nomination but Bott said there were no regrets about him not running at Moonee Valley on Saturday with the stable preferring to concentrate on the Derby.
“It’s what we set out to achieve with the horse,” Bott said.
“The Derby is a prestigious race that we’d love to be able to win. He looks the right horse for it and we want to give him his chance.”
Bott is confident Thinkin’ Big will be strong at the distance.
“I think he’s had a good grounding leading up to it,” he said.
“He’s bred to see it out. Physically I think last start he was pulling away from them and was strong all the way through the line.
“And everything that he’s shown at home has given every indication he will run out a strong 2500 metres.”