TRIPLE TREAT

Wednesday 25, 2022 2:00 PM By Best Bets

The biblical deluge that has hit parts of Queensland and NSW this winter has gifted us a feast of racing at Eagle Farm this Saturday.

In a further bonus, the two benchmark races originally scheduled for this meeting have been punted, leaving black type from start to finish on a 10-race card.

Among the races transferred from last Saturday’s washout is the Group 1 Doomben Cup. Despite the addition of 100 metres, the market still thinks this is a benefit for Zaaki, who is favoured to become only the fourth multiple winner in the race’s 89-year history.

The other two majors appear to be more open.

The Queensland Derby saw a run of three successful favourites from 2017-19. Covid saw the 2020 running cancelled, then last year Explosive Jack ($2.50) could only manage third as he chased a fourth derby win. Chris Waller trained five of the first eight home, including the quinella.

Kiwi gelding Dark Destroyer leads the market for this Saturday. He’s coming off a win in the Rough Habit Plate, which tends to be the right form.

Of the 23 Rough Habit Plate winners to have tackled the Queensland Derby, seven have won. Last year’s winner, Kukeracha, was coming off a second in the Rough Habit.

Saturday’s other Group 1 is the Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m), which is the 11th name for a race that began life in 1964 as the J.T. Delaney Quality Handicap. It’s been the Stefan Sprint, the Tourist Minister’s Cup, the Robins Kitchen Cup and the BTC Cup. It’s also been named after two beers and three wineries.

Since it was moved to Eagle Farm, lengthened by 100 metres and renamed after the dashing aviator (born a stone’s throw away), all four winners have jumped from gate seven or wider.