Gai gives Derby fancy a Big tick
GAI Waterhouse has put lightweight jockey Michael Dee on standby to ride Thinkin' Big in this year's Melbourne Cup if the colt wins Saturday's Victoria Derby and connections opt to back him up in the $7.3 million race next Tuesday.
Waterhouse remains confident the firming $2.90 Derby favourite has the same staying credentials and resilience as Nothin' Leica Dane, who won the 1995 Derby for her before running second in the Melbourne Cup just three days later.
Thinkin' Big is related to Nothin' Leica Dane on his dam's side, and Waterhouse says the pair were almost identical, though the former is a more striking horse.
"I'll be disappointing if he doesn't win (the Derby) because he looks the goods and is spot on," Waterhouse said.
"He has ticked every box. He is a class horse going into a class race, and he won't disappoint the punters.
"If he is happy and he is healthy and he has come through the (Derby) run well, yes, we would consider running him in the Melbourne Cup."
Thinkin' Big would carry 49kg in the Cup, with the trainer confirming Dee has been offered the ride if he runs in the race that stops the nation.
"The 49ers (jockeys who ride at that weight) are few and far between," she said.
"Michael Dee has been put tentatively on hold."
Thinkin' Big drew barrier nine in Tuesday's barrier but will start from barrier seven if both emergencies are taken out of the capacity field.
Second favourite Aramayo drew next to Thinkin' Big in barrier 10.
Darren Weir's two Victoria Derby runners Extra Brut and Savoie both drew poorly.
Waterhouse, meanwhile, remains confident Geelong Cup winner Runaway can cause an upset in the Melbourne Cup next week after a solid workout at Flemington on Tuesday morning.
"Anyone who has trained a Cup winner would say their horse has to come right at the right time, and he has," she said.
"Why wouldn't you have something on Runaway, he might just run away with it.
"You can never have enough Cups, they are like diamonds, they are a girl's best friend."
VRC DERBY (2500M)
1 Thinkin' Big (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott) T Clark 9 55.5kg
2 Aramayo (James Cummings) T Angland 10 55.5kg
3 Extra Brut (Darren Weir) J Allen 15 55.5kg
4 Stars Of Carrum (Robbie Laing) B J Melham 7 55.5kg
5 Home Ground (John Sargent) H Bowman 16 55.5kg
6 Mickey Blue Eyes (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig) R Bayliss 3 55.5kg
7 Savoie (Darren Weir) D Yendall 17 55.5kg
8 Visao (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) D M Lane 13 55.5kg
9 Seberate (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig) C J Parish 18 55.5kg
10 Chapada (Michael Moroney) J B McDonald 12 55.5kg
11 Sikorsky (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig) L Nolen 6 55.5kg
12 Farooq (Tony McEvoy) K McEvoy 2 55.5kg
13 Louie the Legend (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young) D Dunn 11 55.5kg
14 Savvy Oak (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young) M Zahra 5 55.5kg
15 Tolemac (Francis Finnegan) 14 55.5kg
16 Grinzinger Star (Danny O'Brien) D Oliver 4 55.5kg
17e Alessandro (Robbie Griffiths) B E Thompson 1 55.5kg
18e Vow And Declare (Danny O'Brien) J M Winks 8 55.5kg