EXCITING Aashiq races on Derby Day after all, but with sights set lower than the Classic. Trainer Lawrie Fownes let the progressive galloper take his chance in the Classic Trial last month, but decided to bypass the Classic when Aashiq could not match the guns in the 1,600 metre lead-up. With the Derby at set weights, Aashiq would have no chance but chases a consolation prize in the second event on today's programme. Aashiq drops back to 1,400 metres and Class Three, and despite the 140 pounds is going to take a lot of beating. Aashiq's effort in the Classic Trial was not a bad one, but he was not up to that standard. He remains a quality galloper who will keep winning in the right grade. Although 140 pounds is an onerous weight, Aashiq may not yet be in the handicapper's grasp. His run behind Lucky Century on January 10 over today's trip was an excellent effort and that performance suggests he is winning material here. Jockey Darren Gauci arrived from midfield to be closest at the finish and he may not have had the best of luck in running. He hit the line stoutly under a weight of 138 pounds, which suggests today's burden will not stop him. Partner finished third in the race, about a length to the good of fourth-placed Vital Point, who has since won. There was plenty of daylight to the rest. Aashiq does like cut in the ground but he may not get that today. However, he looks like getting the run of the race from his rails draw and should carry too many guns. It is hard to know what to make of the Geoff Lane-trained Nickels King, who would be a real chance on his best form. Over this trip at his seasonal debut he ran a fair race, but was not sighted at his last start over 1,200 metres. As the horse is easily up to winning in Class Three, it may pay to keep him safe. Outerwear, on his last-start second over the longer sprint, merits consideration.