A ballot exemption into this year’s Victoria Derby or VRC Oaks will be up for grabs when some late-season two-year-olds step out to 1800m at Flemington in the Byerley Handicap.
The Byerley Handicap has been reintroduced to the Victorian program this season and nominations have been extended until Tuesday after 10 initial entries were taken.
The winner earns a ballot exemption into either the Derby or Oaks over 2500m at Flemington in November, with six males and four fillies among Saturday’s initial entries.
The Tony McEvoy stable is set to run Antipas who finished second in a 1300m Geelong 2YO maiden on the synthetic track on debut on June 30.
“He had his first run at Geelong a couple of weeks ago and showed that he would be looking for that kind of trip,” McEvoy’s Melbourne stable foreman Michael Shepherdson said.
“Being the first two-year-old race over that trip, you’d think it’s going to be a soft 1800 metres and it looks a logical next race for him.
“It looked like he showed good stamina and ran through the line at Geelong. And he’s really trained on well.”
Shepherdson said it was a good opportunity to test Antipas over more ground and said the gelding had handled the increase in workload for the longer distance.
“If they keep eating it makes it a lot easier,” he said.
“And we can’t feed him enough.
“So that tells us he’s handling his increase in workload and we don’t have any dramas going forward to try him over that trip.
“If he can run well over 1800 it’s going to probably tell us he’s a nice stayer in the making going forward.
“It’s a good opportunity to get these horses out over a bit of ground that probably quite aren’t sharp enough over the shorter trips.
“And it gives them a good opportunity to help their development to be a stayer.”
All the initial entrants will be chasing a first win on Saturday, with the entries headed by the Darren Weir-trained filly Anchor Bid who was a last-start second in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m).
Anchor Bid is by High Chaparral out of Zapurple, the winner of the 2009 Group Three Fillies Classic in Adelaide over 2500m.