Unbeaten two-year-olds Preakness and Trident will try to continue a golden week for trainer Andrew Campbell when they line up in the Group 2 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. Campbell collected three wins over the weekend as Pimlico and Peloton scored bold front-running victories at Matamata, then Vladivostok cleared maidens in impressive style at New Plymouth.
Vladivostok’s win carried extra significance, being by Tavistock, who sadly died at Cambridge Stud earlier this month. Campbell trained Tavistock to win two Group 1 races in the 2009-10 season for a similar group of owners. All of the weekend’s winning trio hold nominations for the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) on February 29, with Pimlico at $41, Peloton at $26 and Vladivostok at $21 on the TAB’s fixed-odds market.
Campbell also has Tibetan on the Derby trail. The son of Shocking has placed in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) and Listed 3YO Salver (2100m) in his last two starts and is rated an $18 chance. “It’s been a great 24 hours or so, those three-year-olds all ran really well,” Campbell said on Sunday. “I’m lucky to often have a nice little team of talented horses around me. This year’s three-year-olds have always shown a fair bit, and we just looked after them while they were young. Now they’re coming up nicely and we can start to hopefully point them towards some good races.”
Campbell will now turn his attention to his two-year-olds, with Preakness and Trident facing off against a stellar Eclipse line-up that features stakes winners Not An Option and Play That Song as well as impressive Te Rapa winner American Princess.
Preakness won on debut at Otaki on November 29, beating the subsequent winner Opalescence, while Trident made a big impression over 880m at Ellerslie a month earlier. He missed the start by three lengths, but roared home to figure in a tight photo finish. He was beaten by a nose by Devotioninmotion, but later won the race via protest. “I think they’re both really nice two-year-olds,” Campbell said. “Preakness has the ace draw and should get a gun run from there. I’m not too worried about the other one drawing wide (gate 10), because he was always going to drop back anyway.
“It’s pretty hard to split them, I really like them both. Vinnie (Colgan, jockey) had the choice for this race, and he waited to see which one drew better before making his decision. I think he rates them pretty even as well.” Colgan will ride Preakness, with Jason Waddell taking the mount on Trident.
Preakness is rated a $7 chance, while Trident is at $17. Not An Option heads the market at $2.30. The others in single figures are Play That Song ($4.20), American Princess ($7) and De La Terre ($8.50).