History may be against the flying Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Explosive Jack this weekend in Brisbane but the markets are tipping the three-time Derby champ to salute again in the Group 1 $600,000 Moet & Chandon Queensland Derby (2400m).
One of two elite level races on the Eagle Farm card on Saturday alongside the Kingsford-Smith Cup for Stradbroke types, the Queensland Derby field features a capacity line-up of three-year-old stayers.
All the money however is on the brilliant Jakkalberry colt Explosive Jack at $2.60 and firming through Ladbrokes.com.au who has been an absolute revelation for the stable this season.
After winning Hobart’s Listed Tasmanian Derby (2200m) by a big margin back in February, the up-and-comer has gone on to enjoy a further two Derby wins both in Group 1 company.
Two back at Royal Randwick he narrowly defeated Young Werther and Lion’s Roar to score an upset at 20/1 in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) from a wide alley (15 of 16).
He went around at much shorter odds next start on May 8 when travelling to Morphettville to salute in the Group 1 SA Derby (2500m), defeating his stablemate Let’s Karaka Deel by over two lengths.
Nine-time Derby winning hoop in Australia, Irishman John Allen, continues his successful association on Explosive Jack this weekend and is hoping they can defy the history books.
“He is obviously the toughest one of the lot, he just keeps turning up and he has improved each time – the best thing is that he just keeps getting better,” Allen told Racenet.
“His staying ability really comes to the fore in those staying races, Ciaron (Maher) identified that early because his second run was over 2100m – they’ve always had him pinned as a stayer.”
There have been four South Australian Derby winners since the race moved to its current position on the racing calendar in 1984 to back-up in the Queensland Derby, but all four failed to run a place.
The Australian Derby – Queensland Derby double meanwhile has not been completed since Strawberry Road right back in 1983.
Co-trainer Maher won the event back in 2017 with Ruthven and looks to have the right horse to celebrate a second Queensland Derby victory come Saturday afternoon.
The stable also saddle-up their SA Derby runner-up, perennial placegetter Let’s Karaka Deel ($8.50) drawn well in barrier three coming off a trio of second placings.
Despite the size of the field, outside of the Maher & Eustace duo there is just one other single-figure hopeful in Queensland Derby betting this season with the widely-drawn Chris Waller-trained Senor Toba ($5).
Hugh Bowman partners the Toronoado grey from the outside alley on the weekend, the untapped young stayer looking to improve on his slow start and eventual last start third in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben a fortnight back.
The 2021 Queensland Derby is scheduled to run as Eagle Farm Race 7 at 3:18pm (AEST) on Saturday’s card.