Woods' warning for Derby rivals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 March, 2010, 12:00am

Sean Woods could land the biggest win of his training career in Sunday's Group One Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby but while the Englishman is confident, he is not getting ahead of himself.

Woods has Derby Trial winner King Dancer hitting his straps at the right time and is confident he can improve again over the 2,000 metres of the Derby, but he will also saddle up Jolly Good and has warned against writing off his long shot in the HK$16 million race.

'Everything seems to have gone to plan,' he said. 'Both horses went out and did their final piece of serious work over 1,200 metres chasing a galloping partner on Tuesday and both jockeys were very happy with them. Everything has gone smoothly from the Derby Trial until now so I can't ask for any more than that. Gerald [Mosse] was extremely happy with King Dancer and he really is in a rude amount of health at the moment. I expect he'll improve dramatically over 2,000 metres on his Derby Trial win, and later in the year when he gets out to 2,400 metres he'll improve even more.'

It is an ominous warning for his Derby rivals, many of whom were downed by the fast-finishing colt in the Group Two Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby Trial over 1,800 metres.

'King Dancer has raced here since last year and that is a massive advantage, because you know he has settled in,' Woods said. 'With a horse like Jolly Good you have to key in acclimatisation through his preparation. But he won't be there just to make up the numbers. He's a proper little horse and had good form in France and Germany before he came here. He will get the 2,000 metres no worries and I'm really looking forward to seeing him race on Sunday, because I think he is right up to the mark now.'

Woods is confident his two charges will be hitting the line hard when others may be faltering and tiring on their runs.

'It's nice to go into races like the Derby when you know your horse is really going to get the trip well,' he said. 'Winning the Derby is not rocket science, you just have to have the right style of horse and keep improving them up to the big day. I've done what I can as a trainer, now we just have to hope for a bit of luck.'