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A Vital attack on the Queensland Derby

The $500,000 Group One Queensland Derby is Saturday's feature and we are delighted to be saddling up two runners - even if they both have the dreaded visitor's draw!

"It is a horror draw (19) for Rhythm To Spare," Michael Moroney rued, hoping the up-and-coming gelding can overcome the disadvantage - "he just needs a bit of luck."

Pleased with Rhythm To Spare's last start eye-catching Grand Prix Stakes second to Derby favourite Hawkspur, Moroney says the horse has "continued to thrive up here."

"His work has been very good and he does have the right jockey," he said - adding that if anyone can steer a Derby winner from an outside gate it is Glen Boss.

Fellow Queensland Derby candidate Ali-Vital (pictured) has also drawn out, although not quite so severely - due to jump from barrier ten for Darren Gauci.

"He comes of a nice albeit in softer class," said Moroney, adding that the lightly raced gelding "will be stronger next preparation."

"But," he said of the last start Doomben winner, "he will stay and that gives him a chance."

Also drawing right out is Shenzhou Steeds (barrier 16 for Eddie Wilkinson) but the five-year-old is nicely primed for the 2400m of the Group 2 Brisbane Cup.

"I think he will strip at his best here," Moroney said, noting that the gelding has taken a few runs to come to hand this time in.

An encouraging last start fifth in the Group 3 Premier's Cup beaten only a length, Shenzhou Steeds is, says Moroney a horse who is not unsuited drawn out wide.

"His best runs have been when he has had space," he said, "so the barrier doesn't really worry me and he is going as well as he can at the moment."

Our other Eagle Farm runner comes earlier in the day, Saint Or Sinner lining up in the Listed Daybreak Lover Stakes over 1600m.

Only just beaten over 2000m at Flemington last time out, the promising three-year-old has had a set back since, getting himself cast in a box and suffering some muscle problems.

"He has had ten quiet days," Moroney said, "but he is going really well, I have been very happy with him. This is quite a strong race and he will be improved by it but he is a pretty smart horse who should prove competitive."

Mrs Hadlee kick starts our busy day at Flemington, contesting the second race - the Birthday Handicap over 1400m.

Not at her best at Sale last week, the grey has however shown a liking for Flemington and Moroney feels she will be suited by the back-up.

"She is quite a strong filly who gets gross quite quickly."

"She has," he continued, "always proven competitive in these sorts of races."

Contesting the second heat of the Leilani Series is the in-form Girls On Film who has impressed winning her last couple at Bendigo and Sandown.

"She faces a rise in class," Moroney admitted, "but her wins have been good ones and she is going really well - she looks hard to beat again."

We have two runners in the Rod Johnson Handicap - Present Arms and If It Don't Fit who Moroney describes as "both progressive three-year-olds."

A son of Zabeel having only his fourth start, Present Arms should relish the step up to 200om.

"He is a nice, big 17hh horse who will be better next year but he has trained on well from his maiden victory."

"If It Don't Fit is in the same mould - a big horse who will improve but he does possess good ability."

Grand campaigner Wall Street takes his place in the fourth heat of the Winter Championship Series and Moroney says he is looking forward to seeing the eight-year-old back on a soft track.

"He has been crying out for a bit of give in the ground and he finally gets it. He was not happy on that firm going in Adelaide last start and he is really well."

That's The Way, our final runner for the day, is right down the bottom as number 16 in the L.V. Lachal Handicap and unfortunately he has drawn the outside gate.

"Another horror draw," Moroney said - "he is just one of those horses who keeps drawing out. But he is a reasonably smart horse on his day and the distance should suit."
[07 Jun 13]

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