Victorian Derby Runners - Mark Newnham believes he has the right horse for the job
2500m awaits Shadow Hero in the Victorian Derby following a faultless campaign in Sydney
Joshua Parr riding Shadow Hero in the Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes. (Getty Images)
Victorian Derby contender on track
Thought Of That has emerged as one of the main Victoria Derby contenders after his dominant win in the Caulfield Classic, but Sydney trainer Mark Newnham remains confident he has the right horse to win the $2 million Classic at Flemington.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Thought Of That backed up an eight-length win in a Donald maiden over 1600m with a 3.75-length front-running victory in Saturday's Group Three Caulfield Classic (2000m).
Thought Of That firmed to 3.50 for the Group One Victoria Derby (2500m) on November 2, behind the Newnham-trained Shadow Hero (2.50), who has won the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in Sydney at his past two starts.
Newnham was at Caulfield on Saturday to see Shadow Hero's stablemate Celestial Falls finish third in the Ethereal Stakes and he also paid close attention to the Caulfield Classic.
"The winner was very good but it was a bit of a sit-and-sprint," Newnham said.
"But he has won his past two by big margins so he's obviously going to be the horse to beat."
It has not dented his confidence with Shadow Hero heading towards the Derby.
"I wouldn't swap," Newnham said.
Newnham said Shadow Hero knew he had had a run in the Spring Champion but had come through the race well and would travel to Melbourne on Wednesday to be based at Caulfield.
"I'm hoping to take him to Flemington for a gallop on the Tuesday before the Derby," Newnham said.
"He's come through the Spring Champion really well.
"He felt it because it was a solidly run 2000-metre race. They were going strong fractions all the way and they were only a tick outside the course record.
"It was a proper test but he showed he was the best stayer and that's what I've always thought of him.
"The 2500 metres at Flemington shouldn't hold any fears for him."