STAR Queensland three-year-old pacer Lanercost signalled he will be the one to beat in next week’s Australian Derby when he powered his way to an effortless win in the Balmoral On York Stakes over 2200 metres at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston last night.
With his trainer Darrel Graham in the sulky, Lanercost showed brilliant speed to cross from the outside barrier and when he was asked to sprint turning for home he left his rivals in his wake.
Lanercost (Courage Under Fire-Lanoch) was sent around the $1.20 favourite and never gave his backers any concerns.
The colt went into the race with great form including a third in the Victorian Derby that followed an impressive Victorian Derby heat win at Maryborough but he also won the Caduceus Club Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton the start prior to crossing Bass Strait.
Lanercost is in Tasmania to tackle the $100,000 Australian Derby in Launceston next Sunday night but he also will stay on to tackle the Tasmanian Derby in Hobart a week later.
Graham said the decision to contest the two derbies in Tasmania was made some time back.
“The option was to go to New Zealand for the NZ Derby or come to Tassie and to be honest if we go to NZ and draw badly you can’t win but it’s a more open playing field at home,” Graham said.
“I gave the horse a quiet week after winning the Caduceus Club Cup (Feb 19) and then prepared him for the Tassie races.”
“It’s better to have him here early to settle in and this run will have put him at his top for next week’s assignment,” he said.
Lanercost, bred in New Zealand by the Stratford family, has started 15 times for 12 wins and three minor placings and is being hailed the next superstar of harness racing.
He has a best wining mile rate of 1.56.3, recorded as a two-year-old winning on debut at the Gold Coast last year.