By Alex Nolan
BRISBANE trainer Paul Butterworth hopes his faith in Group 1 winner Capital Gain pays dividends in Saturday's Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
Butterworth and the ownership group have knocked back several large overseas offers to purchase the gelding since he beat home Aloisia to win the JJ Atkins at Doomben last winter.
Their faith was tested when Capital Gain suffered a fractured skull during the Queensland summer carnival, before he recovered to finish down the track in the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas’.
Butterworth remains confident his charge will be suited to the 2400m, thoughts bolstered by the fact that Capital Gain recorded the equal-fastest final furlong in the Rosehill Guineas alongside eventual winner D’Argento.
“I think he’s cherry ripe for this,” Butterworth said.
“(Jockey) Ben (Melham) got off him last Saturday and said ‘I think this horse can win the Derby’.”
Butterworth said he would urge Melham to have Capital Gain (barrier 14) nearing top gear well before the field of 18 turns for home in the $2 million Classic.
“He has to be hitting top-flight on turning, not at the 200m mark,” he said.
“He is the type of horse that can sustain a long run as we saw in the JJ.”
Butterworth all but ruled out a Queensland winter campaign for Capital Gain.
“If he won the Derby he’ll miss winter but if he is ridden quiet, flashes home, and doesn’t do a lot of work then he could run in the Queensland Derby,” he said.
“But, the ultimate plan would be to win the derby, then go to Melbourne and target the Caulfield Cup.”
Butterworth and Capital Gain won’t be the only Queenslanders chasing Group 1 glory at The Championships, with the former Liam Birchley-trained Crack Me Up a key runner in the Doncaster (1600m).
The $60,000 Magic Millions GC Yearling Sale purchase already has runs on the board over the Randwick mile, winning the Group 2 Villiers Stakes in December, before winning first-up over 1300m at the same track in March.
Toby Edmonds’ Magic Millions-winner Houtzen is also nominated in the PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) for three-year-old fillies.