EXCITES chances of netting a classic winner from his first crop rest ably with talented Perth galloper Flag Officer who will lead out the field in tomorrow’s Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot.
The locally trained gelding kicked off his career with an all the way 2.8-lens win at Northam in a 2YO Maiden over 1100m but his versatility and consistency led owner/trainer Paul Jordan to plan a Derby campaign.
Flag Officer has raced 11 times for 3 wins and 7 placings.
He took out the Listed WATC T.J. Smith Trophy (1600m) before sound runs in the J.C Roberts and Melvista Stakes, both Listed races and traditional Derby lead-ins.
“Flag Officer is a much better horse when he can lead and he wasn’t able to do that in the Melvista,” Vinery’s Conor Phelan said.
“This will be his seventh run (on Saturday) and Paul Jordan has laid a beautiful foundation for the horse to run a strong mile and half.
“Excites’ sire, Danewin, was a very unlucky second in the VRC and AJC Derbies, most people reckon he should have won both.”
One of the main to Flag Officer’s Derby ambitions is More Than Ready gelding, Reign Of Terror, trained on the track by Neville Parnham.
The bay signalled his readiness for the classic with a strong 0.8-lens second in the Melvista.
Should he be able to take out tomorrow’s $400,000 feature, he would help provide his sire with back to back winners given Dreamaway’s WATC Oaks/Derby heroics in 2011.