Victoria Derby winner on track for Australian Guineas

Victoria Derby winner Hitotsu is in the early stages of a preparation that is expected to see the colt run first-up in the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington.

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained three-year-old is in the leading trainers’ Ballarat stable going through a slow build-up.

Eustace said Hitotsu had had three weeks in the paddock following his Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) success at Flemington on October 31.

That victory was achieved at his sixth race start and came after Hitotsu was an eye-catching fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas three weeks earlier.

Prior to that Hitotsu had won a Donald maiden at his first start for the Maher and Eustace stable.

The Derby victory was hailed by some as one of the great modern day training performances while no horse has been successful first-up in the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March.

“He’s probably two or three weeks off having a grass gallop,” Eustace said.

“He’s ticking over nicely and looks great.

“He spelled well. He had three or four weeks out. Didn’t put a lot of weight on, 10 kilos or so.

“I think the plan is to run him first-up in the Australian Guineas and then head up to Sydney for a light campaign ahead of the spring.”

Hitotsu started his career in the Wendy Kelly stable at Cranbourne before being spotted by Maher and Eustace’s bloodstock agent Will Bourne who was impressed by the colt’s tenth in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield and his sixth in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington.

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