Timeform Preview - Golden Eagle
Star mare Arcadia Queen failed to fire a shot in the Everest but remains the horse to beat in Saturday's Golden Eagle.
Always helps to be forgiving in racing and happy to put a line through her last start effort.
She simply didn't fire and appears much better suited in Saturday's effort.
Rated 121 by Timeform, she is the highest rated runner in the field (factoring in mares' allowance) and if able to run up to that level, she is the one to beat.
From the gun draw she is expected to be ridden more conservatively and she should be right at her peak racing third up.
This has always been the main target and while she faces some stiff opposition, it will take a very good horse to beat her.
Stablemate Kolding shapes as the main danger, following his narrow success in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap.
The form around him has worked out very well and he has clearly turned the corner since being gelded, he's won six from seven since.
Rated 118 by Timeform he has to take a sizable jump to beat the Queen, however current evidence points to him running a new peak on Saturday.
Love him kept fresh (28 days) and he looked very strong in a recent trial under Glen Boss.
If Arcadia Queen fails to produce her best, Kolding is sure to be there to pick up the pieces.
Virtually nothing separates both Brutal and Classique Legend on best form.
They are both rated 124 at their peak and when assessing time figures, you again are again splitting hairs.
Classique Legend is on trial at the trip, but gives the impression he will handle it and has drawn to get a much kinder run in transit this time around.
McEvoy legs back aboard and with a touch more luck, he is sure to make his presence felt.
Brutal was very good fresh, before a touch flat last start in the Sydney Stakes.
Race shape didn't suit him there and he is sure to appreciate the step up in trip.
This has always been his Grand Final and while drawn out, he should press forward and be in this for a long way.
Of the rest Beat Le Bon appears the best of the International raiders.
His performance winning at Goodwood two back stacks right up and if able to replicate that form out here, he cannot be taken lightly.
Timeform Preview – Victoria Derby
Four trial winners, headlined by Shadow Hero , line-up in what shapes as a strong edition of the VRC Derby.
The VRC Derby hasn't been the happiest hunting ground for short-priced favourites in modern times, runners shorter than 2-1 have gone one from eight in the 12 years since Efficient, with Tarzino in 2015 that lone success, but Shadow Hero brings a strong ratings case to the table and deserves his place at the top of the betting.
Shadow Hero arrives via a Spring Champion success at Randwick where he stayed on strongly to back up his Gloaming-winning rating of 117. That is good enough to win an ordinary VRC Derby and that he has done it twice adds confidence to him delivering on the big day.
Further confidence comes from the performance of Castelvecchio , runner-up to Shadow Hero in the Spring Champion, in last weekend's Cox Plate.
That performance paid a nice compliment to Shadow Hero and the form of the Spring Champion where that pair were the strongest late in a race that was backed up by a good timefigure – particularly good when considering the closing strength of the first two home.
Shadow Hero isn't the only horse heading into the Derby on the back of a strong performance against the clock last time.
Caulfield Classic winner Thought Of That blitzed the clock at Caulfield, taking control of the race from a long way out before booming home and putting a big gap between him and the chasing pack. '
Thought Of That returned a rating of 116, stepping up on a big rating of 102 that came with the blinkers applied at Donald.
His Classic win has a similar look to the win of Polanski in the same race in 2013 before heading on to produce one of the best Derby wins in recent times.
Soul Patch is the lone runner from the Caulfield Guineas to take his place in this year's Derby and he strengthened his claims with a 113-rated win in the Moonee Valley Vase last time.
He was too far back in the Guineas, and finished full of running, and again finished with zest in the Vase.
Soul Patch has something to make up on the two at the top of the betting but there is reason to think we are yet to see the very best of him.
There may be some query around Thought Of That and Soul Patch stretching out to the extended trip but there will be no such concerns around Geelong Classic winner Long Jack.
He's out of a Monsun mare, Monsun a deep source of stamina, and while the Geelong Classic was the weakest of the Derby Trials he was dominant.
He travelled all over them from a long way out and powered through under minimal pressure when the gaps opened up.
He runs for a stable that know how to win a Derby – Murray Baker won this Derby in 2010 with Lion Tamer – and looks to have plenty more to offer on the back of his Geelong win last time.