Eagle Swoops Into Sydney For Derby Tilt

IF Eagles Nest Egg is to barge his way into next week’s Group 1 National Derby Final he’ll need to do so without the benefit of a WPK trial.

Adam Dobbin

14 January 2021

IF crack Victorian Eagles Nest Egg is to barge his way into next week’s Group 1 Ladbrokes National Derby Final (520m) he’ll need to do so without the benefit of a Wentworth Park trial.

The hugely exciting youngster has been installed a rock solid $2 favourite for the opening National Derby qualifier on Friday night which will be his first venture to the Glebe circuit.

“I wasn’t able to get him up there to trial – in the end it was just too hard with all the COVID restrictions,” said trainer Brendan Pursell.

“I had planned on getting him up there to trial after the Silver Chief but the six spots on the flight he was going to be on dropped down to four which meant he missed out.

“But drawing box one is a huge plus. He’s a keen railer so it gives him his chance. Had we drawn out wide it would have been a totally different story.”

Eagles Nest Egg, a son of Superior Product and Princess Roman, tackles the opening Derby heat on Friday night as the winner at seven of his 17 starts.

And while the 29.10 Sandown Park winner’s career has now completely taken flight, Pursell admits it was a very different story early days.

“His owner Rodney Campbell sent him up to me from Tasmania after he broke in quite well,” Pursell said.

“I think he broke in the third quickest of a strong litter and when I started trialling him he was running fast times and I was always driving home thinking I had a really good dog.

“There’d be 100 times at a trial session and he’d be in the top two or three times each time.

“But he got beat on debut at Geelong in slow time and won just one of his first seven. I was telling his owner how good he was and couldn’t win a race!

“There was two runs at The Meadows in a heat and final series not long after that he just clicked and started showing what he was early on. And he’s gone on with it from there.”

With seven heats of the National Derby slated for Friday night just the heat winners’ and fastest runner-up will progress through to the $75,000-to-the-winner finale.

But win, lose or draw on Friday night, Pursell says the experience alone will provide his up-and-coming sprinter with plenty of benefit.

“Even the 10-hour car trip up Friday will be a learning curve for him,” Pursell added.

“But he’s a placid dog so he should handle that well enough. And with him being a railer the red is a big positive.

“He missed the start in his Silver Chief heat last start but still ran 5.12 early. Generally he’s a good beginner so hopefully he comes out on Friday night even without a look at the track.”

Holding second and third favouritism for Friday night’s first Derby heat are fellow Victorian-trained sprinters Do It (box eight) and Memphis Keeping (box seven).

Do It is $5 for Jeff Britton while Memphis Keeping for Jason Thompson is $6.

“The box draw gives us a chance with those two drawn out there,” Pursell said.

“Had I drawn box six or seven without a trial you’d be a lot more concerned.”

Pursell enjoyed a spectacular 2020, guiding home in excess of 100 winners including victory with Bronski Beat in the Group 1 Sandown Cup.

“He’s really found his feet in New Zealand now,” Pursell said.

“He started off a bit slow over there but he’s won five in a row now with a few track records. He’s going great.”