The longest race on the Malaysian Turf calendar, the 2400m Group One Perak Derby worth RM200,000 in prizemoney will be contested at Ipoh on Sunday.
Five of the nine acceptors were engaged in the G1 feature last year including place getters FEISTY LEO (2nd) and ROYAL GREEN (3rd) along with ILUMINADO (4th), FLIGHT OF THE SAKER (6th) and STAR QUALITY (8th).
ILUMINADO and STAR QUALITY, who was 2nd in this race two years ago, are both contesting the Perak Derby for the second time.
Selangor trainer Frank Maynard was successful in this race back in 2006 and will be represented by two genuine chances in the form of JUSTICE WORLD and FLIGHT OF THE SAKER.
JUSTICE WORLD has been given a perfect preparation leading into Sunday’s feature which was capped off with a fast finishing 3rd in a strong 1600m Metro A in KL last weekend. The Coronation Cup runner up scored over 1700m two starts back and gives the impression he will stay over the longer trip despite being unproven at the mile and a half.
Stable mate FLIGHT OF THE SAKER is proven over the journey and is also on the seven day back up following his 7th placing in the same Metro A race in KL. The 7yo worked home strongly from a rearward position finishing 5.75 lengths from the winner.
Penang Gold Cup winner, ILUMINADO needed the run in KL last week and will be produced second up on Sunday. The chances of ILUMINADO will be enhanced if there is a wet track as the 9yo has scored 3 from 3 on soft/heavy tracks in Malaysia. The only query is that the horse has failed in two previous attempts at 2400m.
Another galloper with a limited preparation for the Derby is FORTUNIQUE, having its third start for trainer Simon Dunderdale. The 6yo failed in the Penang Gold Cup prior to a spell and will be third up this preparation. FORTUNIQUE was another horse which caught the eye in the KL Metro A event and could be an outside chance despite its limited preparation.
The form of ROYAL GREEN in the higher graded races has been solid as he looks to improve on his placing in last year’s edition. The 7yo has matured into a handy type over the past year and jockey HS Gill will be searching for his second Derby success.
The other place getter from 2016, FEISTY LEO has been a model of consistency and looks a good trifecta chance. The 8yo has placed 4 from his past 5 starts and should settle handy on the pace.
STAR QUALITY failed badly in the Derby last year and looks a query first up over the marathon journey. The 6yo has not raced since finishing 4th in the G1 Coronation Cup in November but may be a chance if a damp track prevails on Sunday.
MR PAULANDRE would have been a last minute inclusion to qualify for the Derby after gaining enough ratings points from his 1400m KL win last weekend. The 5yo has been placed up to 2200m before but whether he is competitive against this class remains a question mark.