Michael Kent Jnr has Victoria Derby favourite Cadazio running at Flemington this Saturday but the Cranbourne trainer hopes that on Wednesday one of his stablemates will demand he also be directed towards the $2 million staying Classic.
Artzino gets the chance to put himself on a Derby path when he contests the $55,000 Ladbrokes Market Control Plate (1500m) that kicks off the Sandown card.
The Australian Bloodstock-raced gelding is a son of Tarzino, who Kent’s training partner Mick Price won the Derby with in 2015, and this spring’s three-year-old staying features have always been at the forefront of their mind.
“He showed enough at two, so we put him away and gave him a nice, long spell and timed our run for the spring, working backwards from a race like the 2022 Victoria Derby,” Kent said.
“He’s in that mould of horse; a good, tough, sound Kiwi horse with a good action who seems to have a good motor.
“But he needs to step up now and go and win a maiden like this so then, hopefully, we can aim at some of those nice Derby lead-up races in September.”
The NZ$60,000 Karaka Yearling Sale buy will be having his second start on Wednesday, having made his debut on the Pakenham synthetic track on August 22, when he closed off stylishly to finish a three-quarters-of-a-length second to Spring Valley.
“We allowed some improvement in the horse, so he’s come on nicely from that,” Kent said.
“He’s drawn well and I would think he’ll get a typical Mark Zahra ride where he’ll be balanced up and finishing off strongly down the long Sandown straight.”
Artzino has drawn barrier three in Wednesday’s field of 11 for which he is TAB’s $3.30 favourite.
He is a $26 chance in TAB’s Derby market, which has four $11 joint-favourites, one of whom is Cadazio, who will contest Saturday’s $175,000 Listed Exford Plate (1400m).