Al Shameel In Good Form for 2016 Tasmanian Derby

February 4th, 2016

Trainer Patrick Payne has been pleased with the condition of Al Shameel through recent weeks but is unsure whether or not the colt has the class to overcome race favourite Jerilderie letter in Friday’s 2016 Tasmanian Derby (2200m) at Hobart.

Al Shameel (outside) is one of eight confirmed for Friday's 2016 Tasmanian Derby. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Al Shameel (outside) is one of eight confirmed for Friday’s 2016 Tasmanian Derby. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Al Shameel has been a largely consistent performer for Payne through his short racing career so far; posting a credible one win and five minor place finishes through only eight competitive starts.

Clearly needing the run when ninth in a Sandown minor over 1200m first-up in late November, the Zabeel gelding has finished second in each of his four most recent starts, peaking with a strong run in the Listed Hobart Guineas (2100m) most recently on January 24th.

Payne told Racing Ahead the horse has taken plenty of benefit from his most recent run, but is unsure whether or not he can go one better in the 2016 Tasmanian Derby.

“He’s been staying down at seven mile beach and they do really well down there, it’s an ideal training set up,” Payne said.

“He’s slowly been getting fitter the whole way through and he should be at peak fitness now.

“I’m not sure we’re going to be able to beat Jerilderie letter this time, he was just a bit too good for us last time.

“The only thing maybe is he’s a little bit fitter this time and he was a little bit aggressive for the first 600m or so in the race last time so I’ve put some earmuff on him. I’m not expecting any miracles but sometimes they do help them relax the first half of the race.

“He’s gone a little bit better than expectations – he got beaten in a non-TAB at Kerang two starts ago and then ran second in the Hobart Guineas. We think these are achievable targets for him but we’re not aiming too high at this stage.”

Al Shameel has been confirmed in a small but handy field of eight for Friday’s 2016 Tasmanian Derby and will leave from barrier 7 with notable hoop Steven Arnold in the saddle.

Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 Tasmanian Derby odds, for which Al Shameel can be taken at a generous quote of $7.50 for success.