High class three-year-olds Complacent and Savvy Nature continue their rivalry at Flemington on Saturday in the Group 1 $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby.
The pair has met twice heading into the big one and the score has Complacent ahead two -nil.
Their first meeting came in the Group 2 Gloaming Stakes (1800 metres) at Rosehill on September 28 when The Peter Snowden trained Complacent narrowly defeated the John O'Shea trained Savvy Nature.
Complacent from barrier one had more favours that day when jockey Kerrin McEvoy stayed closer to the fence saved ground and got the job done in style.
Savvy Nature on the other hand drew the outside gate in 12, settled closer to the tail of the field, and had to make a wide run around the home turn covering more ground than the winner.
He then got his chance to turn the tables at their next meeting in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000 metres) at Randwick two weeks later but on this occasion Complacent had the inside draw and again took full advantage to score comfortably.
Savvy Nature tried hard to run down Complacent but fell short, this time running third with another Derby entrant Criterion splitting the two into second place.
Since that meeting Savvy Nature burst back into the winners list winning the Vase at Moonee Valley last Saturday as an odds-on favourite and while he didn't look completely at home at the Valley, he was far too classy and showed he was on track for a Derby triumph.
Complacent and Criterion go into the 2500 metre feature direct from their Spring Champion stakes quinella and the betting on the race with TAB.com.au has changed since the barrier draw was released on Wednesday.
Unexplainably, Complacent has drifted to $5, as has Criterion to $10, while Savvy Nature has since firmed to be the $4.60 favourite.
After being gifted barrier one at his last two outings, Complacent will have to contend with gate 14 (after scratchings) while Savvy Nature is a little better served with barrier 11 and Criterion will exit from the barrier directly outside him.
Most pundits believe the Sydney form is superior and Savvy Nature, whilst beating an average line-up in the Vase, only confirmed that opinion.
The other important lead up to the Derby is the 2000 metre Norman Robinson Stakes held at Caulfield on October 19 and the Robbie Laing trained Polanski ($6 third favourite) ran down another Peter Snowden trained runner San Diego ($7.50) – both seem to be very fit and in-form for their tilt at the Derby.
I'm tipping the Sydney form to reign supreme and I think Savvy Nature can turn the tables on the very smart Complacent, Criterion and San Diego, in turn, providing John O'Shea with his first Derby winner.
My tips are Savvy Nature from Complacent, Criterion and San Diego.
G3 - The Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Steeple Chase
G2 - Prix Raoul Balliere
G2 - Prix Ariste Hemard
G3 - Victress Stakes
G2 - Premier Trophy