By Ray Hickson
He was identified as a Derby prospect before he’d won a race and emerging three-year-old Pride Of Adelaide has his chance to prove he is at Rosehill on Saturday.
The gelding will be trainer Nathan Doyle’s first stakes runner in the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and he arrives at his toughest test with a pair of dominant provincial wins to his credit.
Dolye, 31, has built his stable to 18 in work at Newcastle over the last 18 months and that’s about to expand to 25.
“It’s very exciting for the stable, we’re only a relatively young stable, so to have a stakes runner it’s a feather in the cap of all the staff,’’ he said.
“He held a (Derby) nomination before he had a start for us. He showed us that much on the track but he got beaten at $1.35 at his first start for me.”
The winning margins Pride Of Adelaide has collected, seven lengths and three and a quarter lengths, in his two wins earned him respect as third favourite in the Tulloch at $5.50 with TAB.
While the Tulloch is considered the ‘low road’ when it comes to the Australian Derby it’s hard to ignore the past three Derby winners – Angel Of Truth, Levendi and Jon Snow – have used that road.
Pride Of Adelaide wins at Hawkesbury on March 7
The Derby betting is being stifled by Rosehill Guineas winner Castelvecchio at $3.50 with only Shadow Hero ($4) and Warning ($4.50) under double figures.
Doyle said Pride Of Adelaide, $26 in the Derby, is far from the finished product but his form, particularly on soft tracks, warrants giving him the chance.
“He always suggested he wanted blinkers or winkers, his concentration levels aren’t the greatest but since they’ve gone on he’s improved every time we’ve stepped him out and he’s relaxed more and more each time,’’ he said.
“I know he’s not there mentally yet. It doesn’t look the strongest Group 2 on paper, he’s back to his own age group and they are only three once. It’s the right step for him.
“The others are coming out of stronger form races but he has been very dominant in what he’s done. They’ll know he’s there, he’ll take some running down.’’
Pride Of Adelaide has led all the way in both his wins, at Newcastle and Hawkesbury, in the latter his last 200m of 12.38 (Punter’s Intelligence) was two lengths faster than anything else in the 1600m race.
Doyle isn’t expecting to change too much though is happy to leave the steering to Tim Clark.
“He doesn’t have to rush across, it’s a good run to the first corner, and if they want to go 100 miles an hour we don’t have to lead,’’ he said.
“The best part of his work last start was on the line, the 2000m shouldn’t worry him. He can run good sectionals and keep running off it.’’