Trainer Chad Ormsby expects Roll The Dice to acquit himself well in Saturday’s Avondale Guineas, with a late nomination for the New Zealand Derby a distinct possibility.
Saturday’s Gr. 2 Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie will go a long way towards deciding whether Roll The Dice’s connections live up to the Zacinto gelding’s name.
An impressive winner of two of his four starts, most recently at his home track of Matamata on February 3, Roll The Dice is not nominated for the Gr. 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby. A late entry fee of $30,000 will need to be paid if he is to take his place in the $1 million classic at Ellerslie on March 2.
“In the end the decision is going to be completely up to the owner (Jen Campin),” trainer Chad Ormsby told www.theinformant.co.nz.
“I can only put forward my advice, and that’s obviously going to be heavily reliant on what he does in the Guineas this weekend.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way he won last start, he did it really well. He’s bounced through the race in great order and I’m really pleased with him – can’t fault him at all.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how he goes in the Guineas this weekend. It’s not easy to find a rider at this stage, with a lot of the senior jockeys confirming their Derby mounts. But I’m sure that he won’t disgrace himself on Saturday.”
Roll The Dice could follow in the footsteps of fellow Matamata galloper Gingernuts, whose connections made the Derby late payment following his brilliant Avondale Guineas win two years ago. He went on to win the Derby.
A win by Roll The Dice on Saturday would complete a remarkable double in key lead-ups for horses not nominated for the Derby. Sponge Bob, also trained at Matamata by Graham Richardson and Gavin Parker, won Saturday’s Gr. 2 Waikato Guineas at Te Rapa.
The field for Saturday’s $100,000 Guineas is set to be headed by Cutadeel, who is the current $6 fixed-odds favourite for the Derby following victories in his last three starts including the Listed 3YO Salver. His trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, have won the Derby twice in the last four years with Mongolian Khan and Vin De Dance.
Surely Sacred and Vernanme are the others in single figures in the Derby market, sharing the second line of favouritism at $8.