Kent takes double shot at Derby glory

Mick Kent has two runners in the Australian Derby, one by the all-conquering High Chaparral and the other, second favourite Philippi, by the lesser-known Host.
Nanjing Night Net

Both are bred to be there because they will stay, but as Kent put in his understated way, “They’ve run into a champion.”

It’s A Dundeel is a $1.25 favourite for the blue ribbon after taking the first two legs of the triple crown. In the Randwick Guineas he was dominant, in the Rosehill Guineas comprehensive.

He is one of four sons of High Chaparral to make the Derby field, including Kent’s immature High Shot, and a repeat of the trifecta for the stallion of three years ago when Shoot Out beat Descarado and Monaco Consul is on the cards.

“High Chaparral has taken over from Zabeel as the sire of stayers in this part of the world,” Kent said. “He just works here because he had the turn of foot we need in our horses. He showed that by … winning the Breeders Cup Turf, which is on firm ground, and won it twice. There is no doubt Galileo is best stallion of stayers in the world but [his stock] doesn’t work under our conditions [of racing]. You need a turn of foot because we stop and start.”

It’s A Dundeel’s breeding reads perfectly for a Derby, given he is by High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare in Stareel. Kent’s part of the dynasty, High Shot, draws on the same line, being out of Sir Tristram mare Queen Caelia. He gets to 2400 metres where he should be most comfortable but it might have come too soon for the colt. “I will put the blinkers on him but he is very coltish and has just been switching on and off in his races,” Kent said. “He might be a preparation away but this is the trip he is bred for.”

High Shot won a Cranbourne maiden in October, and Kent opted to miss the spring to concentrate on the autumn.

He has run in four group races, including the Australian Guineas and last week’s Tulloch Stakes, and been about a half-dozen lengths off the winner each time.

“He has been a little backwards, and I have ran him short of his best a couple of times just to try to get him to settle, but has got pulling,” Kent said. “He is the sort of horse which could put it together at this trip, and we have put the blinkers on him to make a difference.”

Philippi comes from a winning platform in the spring when he started his career with three on end. He was sixth in the Australian Guineas and runner-up in the Alister Clark before proving too smart for his rivals in last week’s group 2 Tulloch Stakes.

“I don’t think [breeder-owner Rick Jamieson] was thinking an Australian Derby when he did the mating but the breeding suggests 10 furlongs [2000m], and he won very well at that trip last week,” Kent said. “The mile-and-a-half is still a mystery with him but he is a very nice horse and will go a good race.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.