Kiwi trainer Mike Moroney will partner with compatriot James McDonald on Saturday as he attempts to win his third Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m).
The Flemington trainer will saddle the lightly-raced Chapada in the three-year-old Classic and Moroney believes the son of Bullet Train has all the attributes of a Derby horse.
Moroney has previously won the VRC Derby with Second Coming (1997) and Monaco Consul (2009), while Sabrage finished third for the stable in 2011.
“Chapada is a really nice staying horse and he’s got a touch of speed and class about him too,” Moroney said.
“He’s handled the lead up after a minor setback, where some wouldn’t have.
“He’s kept improving and we expect big improvement between his second to Thinkin’ Big a fortnight ago at Caulfield and this Saturday.
“We had to rush him a bit to get to Wangaratta, the day he won by five lengths, but since then it’s all flowed quite well and he’s just kept improving.”
Moroney said the riding engagement of McDonald, who replaces Patrick Moloney, came about after he sold some shares in the horse.
“I owned a fair share of him and sold down to clients, and they were keen to have James on,” he said.
Following the release of barrier draws, Chapada ($13) drew barrier 12, while race favourite Thinkin’ Big ($3) has barrier 9.