GENTLE TAKES PUNT ON DERBY BIRTH

Jun 03, 2016

Bendigo trainer Brian Gentle plans to head north next Tuesday with progressive stayer Star Zone, hoping he's done enough to gain a start in Saturday weeks $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.

In a bid to leap the order for the feature race, Gentle took the three-year-old to Royal Randwick last Saturday.

He caught the eye at $51, finishing a three-quarter-length, fourth behind the Chris Waller trained Rodrico.

The result left Star Zone 24th in the order of entry for the Queensland Derby, with acceptances to be taken next Wednesday.

Plan B is to start him in either a three-year-old (2000m) at Flemington or or an $85,000 Benchmark 72 at Royal Randwick the same day (June 11)

Last Saturday, after settling towards the tail of the field, the son of Star Witness closed strongly.

"He's probably just been getting a touch too far back in his races"Gentle said this week. "He only has a short sprintand he's been using it to catch them as oposed to going past them

"We had planned to settle a lot closer on Saturday but he was slow to begin"

Stablemate Destiny's Reward, who like Star Zone was a black-booker at the May 14 Caulfield meeting, ran a slick 1-10.73 to win an 1100-metre trial at Avoca on Monday.

Destiny's Reward has been gelded since his fifth placing at Caulfield and will next race at Flemington on June 11.