Dual Group One-winning New Zealand three-year-old Madison County is set to run in next Saturday’s Gr. 1 Australian Derby at Randwick.
The Pins gelding had also been nominated for the Gr. 1 Doncaster Mile on the same programme, but trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman have elected to keep him to his own age group and step up to 2400 metres.
— Andrew Bensley (@AndrewBensley) March 30, 2019
Forsman was at Rosehill for Madison County’s strong-finishing second in yesterday’s Gr. 2 Tulloch Stakes.
“We have always thought, providing he ran an honest race in the Tulloch and looked like he’d stay, that’s (the Derby) what he’d do,” Forsman told Racing NSW.
“I know some people would like to see him in the Doncaster, but I’m just not convinced he is that sort of horse, and I know Tommy (Berry, jockey) shares the same opinion.”
The winner of the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in November and the Levin Classic at Trentham in January, Madison County has made a strong impression in two Sydney starts to date.
He stormed home for fourth in the Gr. 1 Randwick Guineas, then recorded the fastest sectionals from the last 800 to 200 metres of yesterday’s Tulloch Stakes.
“I think I’ve probably cost myself the win there,” Berry said after the Tulloch. “At the 600, I had a chance to follow the fence and would have ended up behind Corey (Brown, riding the eventual winner Angel Of Truth) on the corner. I just didn’t think he was the right horse to be following. If I follow the fence, we probably win.”
Australian bookmakers rate Madison County a $13 chance in Derby markets, with the Mike Moroney-trained pair of Chapada ($5) and the formerly New Zealand-based Arrogant ($5.50) vying for favouritism following their placings in last weekend’s Rosehill Guineas.
Madison County’s stablemate The Chosen One, an impressive winner of yesterday’s Gr. 3 Manawatu Classic, is also likely to line up in the Australian Derby and is rated a $15 chance.