Akihiro on trial for Victoria Derby at The Valley

Sydney trainer Gary Portelli has abandoned plans of a shot at a $1 million race for a potential Victoria Derby start instead.

Akihiro is in Melbourne to start in the Group 3 Drummond Golf Vase (2040m) at The Valley on Saturday as a lead-up to the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday week.

Portelli also had Akihiro in the $1 million Bondi Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday but felt the extra distance in Melbourne was a better fit for the son of Maurice.

Akihiro is coming off a last start fifth behind Hilal in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Randwick on October 9 which followed a second-place finish over 1600m at Randwick on September 18.

And Portelli has secured the services of James Mcdonald on the colt who was aboard when the three-year-old scored at Wyong three starts back on September 3.

“I thought he was very dour last start, and he was screaming out for further,” Portelli said.

“It’s the perfect opportunity at this stage of his campaign, especially with ‘JMac’ in the saddle.

“He worked with Royalzel on Tuesday morning on the course proper and Royalzel had his measure and that just confirmed that he needs further.”

Akihiro is a $10 chance with TAB that sees Derby favourite Forgot You, a last start sixth in the Caulfield Guineas, rated the $1.80 favourite for Saturday’s race.

Portelli said Saturday’s race was the ideal opportunity to test Akihiro over 2000m with a view to giving him a shot at the Derby the following week.

“He’s obviously racing the Derby favourite and if he can match motors with him and I’m happy with the way he goes through the line, I’d think about it,” Portelli said.

“On his pedigree, you’d think 2000 (metres) would pull him up but I’m open to him changing my mind.”

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