After a tense few hours at Ellerslie yesterday, Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is feeling a lot more comfortable about the condition of his Vodafone New Zealand Derby candidate Vernanme.

An Avondale Guineas start for the O’Reilly colt was in jeopardy after he pulled a front plate and ran a loose nail into his sole while in transit to Ellerslie. Marsh notified stewards of the situation and thankfully Vernanme was cleared to start after the plate had been reapplied.

To then run third in the Avondale Guineas was the final relief for connections, and Marsh is confident that Vernanme will be able to keep his classic date on Marsh 2.

“He’s actually better than I thought he would be this morning,” Marsh told “He is feeling it a wee bit but we’ve got two weeks to the Derby.

“It certainly wasn’t ideal – a nail ran into the edge of the sole, which was enough to get us worried and that’s why I told the stipes.

“So yes, that was a tidy Derby trial in the circumstances and as things stand right now I think we’re pretty bloody good actually.”

Surely Sacred’s narrow win over longshot In A Twinkling caused major adjustment to the TAB’s Derby market, with the Tony Pike-trained gelding coming in from $8 to clear $3 favouritism.

Vernanme held his position on the second line at $8, while In A Twinkling shortened from $31 to $10 to now sit alongside Sword In Stone. On the other side of the coin, long-time Derby favourite Cutadeel has gone out to $13 after a lack-lustre Avondale Guineas performance that had connections struggling for answers afterwards.