|2023 Victoria Derby
|Flemington Racecourse – 448 Epsom Rd, Flemington VIC 3031
|Saturday, November 4, 2023
|3YO | Set Weights
|Manzoice (8) | T: Chris Waller | J: Michael Dee (57kg)
The Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) is the headline act in Saturday’s nine-race meeting at Flemington on Saturday afternoon. The traditional feature event on VRC Derby Day has attracted a field of 15 three-year-old colts and geldings vying for the $2 million on offer. Riff Rocket looks the one to beat as master trainer Chris Waller pushes for consecutive victories in the race. Is it a fait accompli, or can an outsider spring a surprise?
2023 Victoria Derby odds
Despite tasting defeat in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) as a long odds-on favourite, Riff Rocket is a firming +115 elect having drawn perfectly in barrier five. After filling the quinella in last weekend’s Moonee Valley Vase (2040m), Apulia (+340) and Verdad (+600) are the only other runners at a single-figure quote. Sunsets (+1100), Air Assault (+1400) and Gates (+1500) are the best of the rest.
2023 VRC Derby speed map
We look set to have a genuinely run 2500m affair, with the likes of Air Assault, Verdad, Sacred Eagle, Sunsets, Gold Bullion, and Tokyo Run all expected to roll forward approaching the first turn. Riff Rocket and Bulawayo will use their good draws to sit just off the speed, while the likes of Gates, Kosgei, and Apulia will be towards the rear of the field, making their runs late on.
Continue reading for HorseBetting’s top selections and $100 betting strategy for the 2023 Victoria Derby.
2023 Victoria Derby Preview & Form
Despite finishing 2.6 lengths off Sunsets and Riff Rocket in the Caulfield Classic, Gates is the one that the market appears to have overlooked. The Peter Moody & Katherine Coleman-trained colt was impressive in a race that was run to suit those up on speed and looked like he would only get better as he steps up further in trip. The Frankel colt is bred to stay the 2500m, and his maiden win first-up at Sandown showed he was a proper stayer in the making. Barrier 14 is offset by his desire to settle at the rear of the field, and the race looks set-up perfectly for Gates to roll over the top late.
Riff Rocket was breathtaking when claiming the Listed Super Impose Stakes (1800m) two starts back, and despite his defeat in the Caulfield Classic, he is the one to beat in the Derby. He settled three back on the fence in the Super Impose, and he maps to gain a similar run in transit here. He has a superb turn of foot for a stayer, but given he will need some luck in the run, the +115 might be a bit tight. He is the class runner in the field, however, and if he is at his best, Riff Rocket’s rivals will not see which way he goes.
Can Apulia become the first horse since Efficient in 2006 to complete the Moonee Valley Vase and VRC Derby double? Much like Gates, Apulia was impressive in a slowly run race in the Caulfield Classic and progressed like a smart horse to claim Group success at his next start. The son of Fiorente will need a stack of luck from barrier three towards the rear of the field, but with Mark Zahra on board, the colt will be given every opportunity to strike with a well-timed sprint.
Outside of them, Verdad, Sunsets and Kosgei can fill a first-four spot.
2023 VRC Derby selections & best bets
|$100 betting strategy
|$50 each way
|Gates (#8) @ +1500 / +230 with Betfair