Derby day is Glory day for David Hayes
It's Derby day at Sha Tin, the second anniversary of Elegant Fashion's unique piece of racing history but for once, noted big-occasion trainer David Hayes will not be a part of the group one action. But if overnight markets mean anything, he'll still be a player on the Derby undercard with improving three-year-old Glory Years.
The Flying Spur three-year-old, who is drawn barrier six, headed the markets last night at $28 (for $10) in the second event.
The other dominant favourite was the Tony Cruz's Very Fit, also $28, in the final event.
Very Fit rejoices in one of racing's best relationships, being a half-brother to champion Silent Witness. Like the great one, he's by a Mr Prospector-line horse in Woodman and progeny of that sire are usually very at home on rain-affected ground.
The state of the track will be a key issue today. Last night, the course was rated as 'good' by manager John Ridley and his team. Given the cool turn of weather and the prevailing high humidity, it should stay that way. But the forecast is worrying, with rain predicted along with colder temperatures. However it breaks, Very Fit is equipped to handled it, and with his natural early speed he makes his own luck.
Early Derby betting sees Vengeance of Rain favourite at $40, but there's a surprise second favourite with the Tony Cruz-trained Russian Pearl at $44. He hasn't raced since November when he damaged a suspensory ligament in his off foreleg, so contriving a first-up win at group one level would be the greatest achievement yet for the all-conquering trainer.