The pressure is on.
And that can be expected given your colt is favourite to claim his second blue riband classic, the Gr.1 $200,000 APG New South Wales Derby at TABCORP Park, Menangle tomorrow night (Saturday).
Fresh from his brilliant victory in the Gr.1 Victoria Derby last month, Queensland pacer Colt Thirty One is looking to become the first three-year-old since Captain Joy (2009) to win both features in the same season.
No Queensland trained pacer has ever collected both features in the same season.
“It’s very exciting and he keeps improving each and every time he steps out, we thought he was very good last week. We’ve booked our flights this time; we’ll definitely be trackside cheering the team on.” Owner/breeder Kevin Seymour said.
Surprisingly, both Kevin and Kay Seymour were absent when their star colt took glory in Melbourne on January 27.
The New South Wales Derby feature would hold mixed feelings for the leviathan couple, back in 2013 their star pacer Majestic Mach tasted defeat for the first time in his career when a runner-up behind Lennytheshark.
Majestic Mach won his first 12 starts including three Gr.1 features.
But the similarities between the past and the present are like chalk and cheese.
Colt Thirty One oozes class and his mannerisms are far superior to his former stablemate.
And that was evident last week when the Grant Dixon trained and driven colt scored comfortably when leading throughout in his qualifier, his time of 1:56.3 was significantly quicker than fellow heat winners Poster Boy and Maraetai.
Colt Thirty One has drawn the coveted inside gate tomorrow night.
In the Victoria Derby, Colt Thirty One came from behind Poster Boy to win the 2240m feature.
“I think Colt Thirty One is actually better than Majestic Mach and will go much further in his career, winning the New South Wales Derby would be a magnificent achievement but it certainly won’t come easy because it’s a very good field with quality rivals.
“I’m hoping he can win all three east coast Derby classics, I’m anticipating he could become a great sire in time because he’s a beautifully bred being a son of a champion sire, the ill-fated Mach Three while his maternal pedigree is very strong.
“Like all owners, we’re dreamers but you must aim for the stars. It would be wonderful to see Queensland back up in bright lights again and producing quality performers, a triple Derby winner would be a great step forward.”
If successful in all three Derbies, Colt Thirty One would join the incomparable Courage Under Fire who achieved the feat back in 1999.
Dixon is aiming for his second triumph in the New South Wales Derby after scoring back in 1994 with Jeremy Lee.
Colt Thirty One is quoted at $2 with UBET for the 2400m event.
The Seymour/Dixon combination is also chasing success in the Gr.1 $200,000 John Gibson Memorial New South Wales Oaks with classy filly Fame Assured looming as a solid chance following her qualifying victory last week.
Like Colt Thirty One, Fame Assured (1:54.8) rated a much quicker time in comparison to fellow heat winners in Shez All Rock and Imprincessgemma.
“All credit belongs to Grant, to win a heat of the Derby and the Oaks is a special achievement, he just keeps creating records. We’ve always held this filly in high regard and she has continued to improve which is particularly exciting,” Seymour stated.
“At the start of the season, I thought this filly could do as big a job as the colt and she’s got an excellent chance of claiming her first feature. It would be an unbelievable feeling to win both classics.”
Fame Assured is rated a $4.20 chance with UBET and will carry saddlecloth number four in the 2400m fillies feature.
Queensland trained fillies that have won the New South Wales Oaks include Courageous Annie (2011), Don’t Fall For Me (2008) and Armada Miss (1991).
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | February 23