Racing Preview

2017 South Australian Derby Preview


The South Australian Derby is certainly not the most prestigious Group 1 events on the Australian racing calendar, but it is often an excellent betting race and that is definitely the case in 2017.

Matt Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Odeon is currently on top of betting, but there are plenty of winning chances in the race and they come from a variety of different form paths.

Will Odeon deliver for favourites or will there be an upset? We have analysed all 20 horses in the field and our 2017 South Australian Derby tips can be found below.


There is a fair bit to like about Ruthven in the South Australian Derby. He has not won a race this preparation, but he has been thereabouts in some quality races. He was far from disgraced when he finished fourth behind Jon Snow in the Australian Derby and he had excuses when he was beaten last start. The fact that he has previously had a start over 2400 metres is an advantage and he really does offer value at his current price.

Waging War

Wag War won the Chairman’s Stakes, which is the traditional lead-up to the South Australian Derby, but I really don’t think that is the strongest form line heading into this race. You can’t knock what he did last start, but he would still need to improve to have any chance in this race. He looks to have found his right price.

Grand Chancellor

Grand Chancellor won the Port Adelaide Guineas with a terrific performance before he finished second behind Waging War in the Chairman’s Stakes. He is another horse that does have upside, but he would need to go to a new peak to win this race.


Anaheim looked like a leading Australian Derby contender when he finished fifth in the Australian Guineas and fourth in the Rosehill Guineas, but he was a disappointing ninth in the Australian Derby before he produced a flat effort at Caulfield last start. He does have the talent to win a race like this one, but it is tough to back him off his last start effort.


Odeon stamped himself as a leading South Australian Derby contender with his impressive win over the older horses at Caulfield last start and before that he was second in the Port Adelaide Guineas. There is no doubt that he is right in this race, but I can’t get him as short as his current price. The fact that he has not had a start over 2400 metres is a query and this could end up being a true staying test. It would not surprise if he won, but I can’t back him at his current price.


Dornier outstayed his rivals to win the VRC St Leger and before that finished third at Stony Creek. He is a genuine stayer that will run all day, but he does not have the ability to win a race of this quality.


Lycurgus won the Galilee Series Final in tough fashion, but he was disappointing behind Odeon at Caulfield last start and it is tough to back him off that effort.


Casta hit the line nicely to win at Pakenham last start, but this is a massive step-up in class.

Gun Guru

Gun Guru is another horse that is stepping up in class significantly for this clash. He was completely outclassed in the Port Adelaide Guineas and I doubt that he is up too this level of competition.

Docker Pav

Docker Pave has recorded two wins from his past two starts at Balaklava, but this is a completely different challenge.

He Ekscels

He Ekscels jumps from 1800 metres up to 2500 metres and that is a far from ideal preparation for this sort of race. He looks to be under the odds at his current price.

Volatile Mix

Volatile Mix was one of the most impressive runs in the Chairman’s Stakes and there is no doubt that he will be suited by the step-up to 2500 metres. In saying that, he has been very well-found in early betting and he will likely have to get very far back in the run. I am happy to take him on at the current price.


Netherfield was a good thing beaten in the Chairman’s Stakes and there is no doubt that he is a horse with a fair amount of talent. He has been priced as though he won his final lead-up and I still think that he would need to improve on that performance to win this race. He is capable of doing that, but I can’t get him any shorter than his current price.

Savvy Dreams

Savvy Dreams is one of the most interesting horses in the South Australian Derby field. She was never able to get into the race in the Auraria Stakes, but before that she finished third in a high-rating edition of the New Zealand Oaks. She will get a long way back from the wide barrier draw, but she is a horse that will have no issues running out the trip strongly and she does appeal as an each-way betting proposition at the current price.


Sedanzer is on the quick back-up from the Australasian Oaks and she may be the value selection in the South Australian Derby. She has always shown a fair amount of ability and she is a horse that has improved each time that she has been seen at the races. The Sebring filly found the line nicely in the Australasian Oaks – a stronger race than this one – and the step-up to 2500 metres may be exactly what she is looking for. She will get a very soft run from the inside barrier and she is more than capable of producing a South Australian Derby surprise.

Wheal Leisure

Wheal Leisure was one of the only horses outside of the winner that was able to make ground in the Australian Oaks. Her form outside of that race is not particularly strong, but she is a genuine stayer and she has a much better chance than her current price suggests.

Rockstar Rebel

Rockstar Rebel is the first emergency in the South Australian Derby field. Rockstar Rebel has raced consistently without winning this preparation. He is a fit horse with plenty of miles in his legs and you can never underestimate Darren Weir, but he does look a touch of unders at the current quote.

Fontein Lad

Fontein Lad is the second emergency in the South Australian Derby field. He is a fit horse, but this is a fairly large step-up in class.


Adatto did have genuine excuses in the Chairman’s Stakes, but as the third emergency looks as though he will struggle to earn a start in the South Australian Derby.


Bedford is the fourth emergency in the 2017 South Australian Derby and requires four scratchings to earn a start in this field.

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.