2017 Victoria Derby Day

Victoria Derby 2017: : Your Guide To The 2017 Victoria Derby

Your guide to picking the winners ​at ​the  2017 Victoria Derby

The 2017 Victoria Derby is run at the famous Flemington racecourse and is the oldest classic races run over the Spring Carnival in Australia.

Over 2500 m, it is the richest race in Australia for 3-year-old horses. 

The 2017 Victoria Derby will kick-start an incredible Flemington Carnival, which also includes the Melbourne Cup, VRC Oaks, and Emirates Stakes.

In recent times, Derby Day is the biggest spring carnival day in terms of crowd numbers, reaching over 115,000 people each year for the last four.

It is easy to see why, with a 9 race card of ALL Group races, including four Group 1 races, two Group 2 races and three Group 3 races.

In my opinion, it is the best day of the year. So let's see who is going to win the big one this year!

How to find the ​2017 Derby Day winners

When it comes to major Cup races like the 2017 Victoria Derby, aligning form between horses from different States can be a nightmare for most recreational punters.

The fact is ​they can be analysed in the same fashion as any race, and standout horses that provide value CAN be found.

We have run the form eye over each runner to tease out what we think are the best contenders and the value prices, and who we think may fall short.

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The Final Field for the 2017 Victoria Derby

Ace High

Barrier: 3

Jockey: Tye Angland

Trainer: David Payne

This is the favourite for the 2017 Victoria Derby, and rightfully so.

After a relatively average start as a 2YO, Ace High has progressed perfectly this preparation as a 3YO. He loves to lead in his races, but I don't think he will get that luxury here despite the perfect draw. 

I am pretty confident he runs out the 2500 m, although he has never raced over 2000 m, so always a risk like with most of these horses. He has also rarely run well when he can't lead, with his only 3 wins coming from leading or 2nd. However, these races were probably over unsuitable distances, so it is difficult to judge too harshly.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

On exposed form and the kind barrier, he has to be one of the top picks.


Barrier: 11

Jockey: Blake Shinn

Trainer: Chris Waller

Despite never winning over 1350 m, his last two over 2000 m have been very good. He has shown strong finishes that suggest he is likely to run out 2500 m well. 

I am going to give him a chance in my top few, but the barrier is a huge concern. He is drawn very awkwardly, and without some luck could be stuck 3-4 wide for a long time. With that extra work, he might struggle to end strong.

I will stay true to him like I have done his last two, but I am mindful the barrier could very well determine his race.

​2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

A chance but will need luck.


Barrier: 1

Jockey: Damian Lane

Trainer: James Cummings

Barrier 1 will prevent any extra work in the run, but without genuine early spped, he could be caught right back on the rails.

At Flemington, there is still ample time to find a gap, but if Lane can't weave some magic it might be too late.

His run at Geelong last start suggests he must be considered here. In that he powered home from 10L back to miss by 1L behind a horse with a huge chance in this (Weather With You).

I am a little torn, but providing he get's a run in time, he will be coming home strong.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Another with a good chance providing the luck is on his side in the straight.


Barrier: 5

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Trainer: David & B Hayes & T Dabernig

Clearly has some ability, but for me he hasn't done enough to show confidence for this. Barrier 5 is a good draw, but it could still land him it a worse than mid-field spot.

He has never won over 1500 m, but more concerning is that he hasn't really shown much late over the further distance.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Doesn't seem to be going well enough for this

Main Stage

Barrier: 14

Jockey: Michael Walker

Trainer: Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

A quality horse that is in great form of late. Last start seemed to plod a little late, but the start before was a huge finish that suggested he could go the extra trip.

It is hard which to follow, but he clearly has some ability.

​He is another horse with a very challenging barrier to overcome. There is a big possibility he is either caught deep or works extremely hard early to find the front few. Either way, it doesn't help.

​No knocking this boys ability, and he will win more races going forward. However, the draw and his last run suggest to me that he just might not be ready for this trip. He could be one of the better horses that misses out.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Tough decisions always need to be made in these races, and this time he is the one I will leave out.​​​​


Barrier: 15

Jockey: Hugh Bowman

Trainer: Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

Drawn an absolute shocker, but I think we have to start realising that although some of these have bad barriers, some of them will still find good spots. Who better to do it than Hugh Bowman.

Sully is a very lightly racehorse, with just 6 career starts heading into the 2017 Victoria Derby. Despite that, I have been super impressed with her finishing up to 2000 m.

Last start she came from near last to hit the line in 3rd behind Ace High and Tangled. On that along I must consider him.

From the same stable as Main Stage, but I think he is travelling a little better. Don't be surprised to see Bowman pull back early, and he will charge home down the middle. Big chance in my eyes at Flemington.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Drawn tough, but has shown enough to me to overcome it. Big chance.

Weather With You

Barrier: 2

Jockey: Mark Zahra

Trainer: Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman

Thanks to some inside mail, I have personally been on this horse for the 2017 Victoria Derby since it arrived in Australia.

His first few three starts were ok, but had pretty genuine excuses in all of them. Last start he finally drew a good barrier, through the blinkers on, and rose to 2200 m.

After some early work, he was strong through the line to win his first career race in 7 attempts.

I know he is full of ability, and is much better than that one win suggests. He is drawn a peach here, and should be able to sit on the fence right behind the front speed.

With a genuine tempo, he is a massive chance to poke through and win this.

I am sitting on him at $26, so have some incredible value, but the current price is still generous considering he is draw well and one of only a few horses that we can be sure will run the trip strong.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

No reason to change now, he is a brilliant chance from a perfect barrier.


Barrier: 13

Jockey: Ben Melham

Trainer: Matt Laurie

​We have seen what can happen in these big races with Boom Time in the Caulfield Cup, but Aberro needed everything to go his way to be considered a genuine chance in the 2017 Victoria Derby. The barrier is not a good start.

Likely to burn too much early, or get caught wide, and his efforts late over shorter trips have been average at best.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Just doesn't look to have the distance in him to challenge some of these


Barrier: 10

Jockey: Noel Callow

Trainer: Robbie Laing

The wide barrier shouldn't matter in this case because he will likely fall back pretty easily.

He looks like he will run the trip, but I question how well. Considering he will start from well back, I don't think his recent racing suggests he can finish over the top of these in the 2017 Victoria Derby.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Not at this stage I wouldn't think.

Justice Faith

Barrier: 16

Jockey: Craig Williams

Trainer: David & B Hayes & T Dabernig


Regardless of who he is, he is drawn the carpark and will need a lot of luck. Something Williams isn't really delivering of late.

All that aside, his runs on paper haven't been too bad. He has had limited luck and shown some strong finishes as the trip increases. These races were behind some fancies in this, so on that, he might be a knockout chance.

I am happy to risk him in the 2017 Victoria Derby, with a few too many showing a bit more. But I am cautious.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Not enough to put him in the top few for me at this stage​

Ocean's Fourteen

Barrier: 7

Jockey: Luke Nolen

Trainer: Aaron Purcell

Hits the 2017 Victoria Derby a veteran of 3 races in its career, but has never missed the place. Last start behind Weather With You was very good for this.

He is drawn with a good chance to slot in just off the speed, and from there could be a massive show at a good price. In fact, he is my value pick in the race.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

I can't leave him out of my top few. Big chance at a price.


Barrier: 9

Jockey: Jordan Childs

Trainer: Matt Cumani

​One of the leaders in the 2017 Victoria Derby. Could and should land right outside of the leader, and as a 3YO is yet to finish worse than 2nd. That includes an impressive 4L win over 2200 m last start.

Having said that, his racing to date has been in much weaker fields than this. I don't think he get's his way up front, and with the extra class and pressure on top of him, I think it could be telling late.

Could run a big race for a long way, but I suspect he drops off late.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Won't be surprised if he runs a good race, but I am leaving him out at this stage.

Johnny Vinko

Barrier: 4

Jockey: Stephen Baster

Trainer: Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

One of four horses in the race from this stable. He is likely to sit worse than midfield, so will need a big finish late. Based on two starts ago, I would suggest that he may well have the ability to produce a big finish. However, last start was only ok over the 2200 m.

Bit of a query over the trip considering last start, and I wouldn't say it is better than Main Stage or Sully. Similar to Greycliffe, I won't be surprised if he runs a good race, but I will look to others with more chance.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Not enough to suggest he finished well enough to be in the top few here

Nothing Too Hard

Barrier: 12

Jockey: Beau Mertens 

Trainer: Paul Perry

Will probably be the backmarker in the 2017 Victoria Derby.

He is winless after 10 career starts, and only boasts a record of two placings. The one positive is that he looks certain to run our the 2500 m, but I would argue if he has the ability of many of these.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Doesn't look up to this class


Barrier: 8

Jockey: John Allen 

Trainer: Tony McEvoy

If he can tag Oceans Fourteen into it, he could find himself in a very good spot in the front few. He is another horse that looks destined to run the trip out, but again looks out-classed.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Should fade away late.

Wolfe Tone

Barrier: 17

Jockey: Jye McNeil

Trainer: Francis Finnegan

​​​​From the widest draw, he will need to go back near last.

He is yet to win in his 3 career starts but did show enough ability in his first two. I am convinced he runs the trip out, but last start he was found wanting in the Group 2 Vase. The top two in that race are stars on the rise, but there was still a 11L gap, and he didn't show much at all.

In a class probably too tough, he is unlikely to make up ground from last I would think.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Out of his depth here

Beechwood (EMERGENCY)

Barrier: 6

Jockey: na

Trainer: Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young

If he get's a run he will be the 2017 Victoria Derby leader. despite this, I can't see him matching it with some of these, and can see him folding in the final 300 m.

2017 Victoria Derby Verdict

Isn't in my top few

2017 Victoria Derby - Top 6 Selections

As always make sure you watch to see how the track is playing because this could impact the chances of a horse winning. 

To assess how the track is playing, take note of where the earlier winners are coming from. 

Are they leaders that kick easily, with no horses really making ground down the middle or from the back? if yes, the this is favouring the leaders.

Are horses winning from behind?

Are the leaders fading away in the straight or does the inside of the track look slower than the middle? Obviously make sure this a regular thing, and not just a $200-1 horse in one race.

If yes, then this favours the horses coming from behind.

If there are no clear indications (e.g. horses running solidly in front, just off the speed and coming home strong), then we have ourselves a track playing fair. 

Let’s hope for the last one, but it isn’t always the case and could impact the race considerably.

This is a very tough race to predict, but aren't they all (except for Winx). Having said that, this race is incredibly hard, so I will stay stick to my guns and make some tough decisions along the way.

Weather With You

I have had this horse for a while now, so will stick with it. Doesn't seem to have an electric turn of foot, but its last start shows he can be strong for a very long way. Drawn perfectly and is peaking at the right time. Big chance here to take out the 2017 Victoria Derby, but regardless should be in it a long way.

Ace High

A very classy horse that is also draw well. Won't be able to lead like he prefers, but will be right on the leader's rump. From that spot, he is a deserved favourite in the 2017 Victoria Derby. Hard to beat I would think, despite favourites having a tough run of it in this race the past decade.


My best pick from this stable. Bowman on board should be all it needs to find a suitable spot from the wide barrier. I suspect this is near the rear, and based on its finishes recently, and a predicted strong tempo in the race, it should be running out a very strong 2017 Victorian Derby.

Ocean's Fourteen

Putting Weather With you near top means I must consider this horse at the price. Still only fresh on the scene, but last start was impressive and looked well above his race maturity. From a very handy barrier, and improvement will see him go extremely close in the 2017 Victoria Derby.


Ditto Ocean's Fourteen. Ran a huge race last start, and looks set for a big 2500 m. Will need a tiny bit of luck from behind the wall, but Damien Lane is a very classy jockey, and in my opinion one of the best in the business. If he can weave some magic, then Godolphin could be taking home the 2017 Victoria Derby. Watch for the blue late through the middle or on the sneaky inside.


Just a horse I can't leave out. I am concerned about the barrier, but his past two have been exceptional over the further trip. It is still a question if he runs the 2500 m out, but I have no reason to doubt otherwise, and if he does he is classy enough to go very close.

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About the Author Grant

Grant is an elite sporting enthusiast. His knowledge stems from the fact that he 'could have' played at the top level in no less than 5 sports, including 2 that he has never played but assures us he would have dominated. His primary loves are the AFL and Horse Racing, and to this day he insists that his lunchtime pack-mark in Year 9 remains the greatest of all time. Beyond the Dreamtime stories and the 'shoulda', 'coulda' sporting legends claims, one thing that remains true is Grant's keen eye for analysis and his stable of reliable contacts that see him deliver consistent and accurate information on many sports and our four-legged friends.

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