Hore-Lacy's rare Derby hope

Rick Hore-Lacy is best known as the trainer of some of Australia’s best sprinters and milers and has rarely turned his sights to stayers.

But in Perfect Pecs he believes he has found a colt with the right attributes to be a Classic contender in Saturday’s Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.

Golden Slipper winner Canny Lad, Australian Guineas winners Kenny’s Best Pal and Dash For Cash and more recently Golden Rose winner Toorak Toff, are famous names Hore-Lacy has trained.

But the most famous of all is Redoute’s Choice, a multiple Group One winner in Hore-Lacy’s care and now a champion sire.

Perfect Pecs earned his way into the Derby field with his short head second to Milestone in the Geelong Classic with the winner to bypass Saturday’s feature.

It has been well documented Hore-Lacy wasn’t able to sign the sales slip for Toorak Toff at last year’s Magic Millions sale but he got a line of credit from the vendors of Perfect Pecs who cost $50,000 at the same sale.

“I wanted to buy a horse that would be a nice three-year-old and I bought them both,” Hore-Lacy said.

“Most of the horses I’ve had over the years have been two-year-olds and sprinter-milers.

“But this colt has all the attributes of a natural stayer.”

Perfect Pecs came up with barrier 19 for the Derby and will come in four places if none of the emergencies gain a start.

However, with heavy rain predicted Hore-Lacy doesn’t believe the wide barrier is a concern.

“He will go forward from the barrier but if it’s a heavy track it nullifies the barriers,” he said.

“The race won’t be easy but he’s there and we’ll see what happens.”

Perfect Pecs remained one of the Derby outsiders at $41 on Thursday with AAMI Vase winner Rekindled Interest shading Retrieve for favouritism.

The Peter Snowden-trained Retrieve is one of two runners for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Australia and has won his only two starts on heavy ground including the Norman Robinson Stakes.

Stablemate Yulalona ran fourth in the Norman Robinson and handled the ground well.

Darley racing manager Trevor Lobb said Yulalona would adhere to his normal pattern of going forward and that was reinforced when he drew barrier 17.

Lee Freedman’s hopes of a fourth Derby following Benicio (2005), Portland Player (1996) and Mahogany (1993) rest with Smokin’ Joey who had a luckless run in the Vase when 11th to Rekindled Interest.

Freedman said he was prepared to forgive Smokin’ Joey’s last run.

“There is no physical genuine excuse for his last run,” he said.

“The horse is in perfect order, but if you take into account the hard run that he had, plus the fact he probably got his tongue back before the corner and choked himself down, he can probably be forgiven.

“If you forgive the horse one race, his form is as good as Rekindled Interest really.”

Smokin’ Joey was on the fourth line of betting with TAB Sportsbet on Thursday at $12 with Rekindled Interest at $3.50, Retrieve $3.70 and Sydney three-year-old Digital Fortress at $8.50.