The leader board in the lead-up to the Vodafone Derby on March 3 is starting to look decidedly crowded.

But, then, for New Zealand's premier classic that's not a bad thing.

Each week a different 3-year-old has put their hoof up.

Sacred Elixir, proven both sides of the Tasman, has been at the top of the TAB's Derby betting market for quite a while. Then, almost in consecutive weeks, those to have stood up have been Camino Rocoso, Savile Row, Volpe Veloce, Jon Snow, Hall Of Fame, Lincoln Blue and on Saturday Wyndspelle burst into calculations with a dominating win in the $100,000 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas.


Those who had stayed loyal after a series of get-back, run-on efforts after bad barriers were well rewarded. And, if you were concerned his rider Jason Waddell was going to come back to his brilliant best after a stop-start last few years, you are worried no more.

Wyndspelle's ability shone through, but don't underestimate how much Waddell's pure class played.

After trying to cope with barrier 11, 10 and 12 in three of his last four starts, Wyndspelle copped a decent gate this time and Waddell jumped him quickly and put him in the race. From three back on the rails, Wyndspelle angled out on the home bend and the race from that point was virtually over.

Co-trainer Donna Logan was delighted. "He deserved a decent barrier and that's what he can do when he got one."

The win promoted Wyndspelle to $9, equal third favourite for the Derby.

The 2400m Derby start at Ellerslie is relatively kind to barrier draws, but any wide gate is a worry in major races, where no quarter is asked for or given and in what looks an even line-up at the head of the race the barrier draw will be all-important.

Shocking Luck surprised a few, but not his connections, in finishing second at Te Rapa and Lincoln Blue clung on for third.

Shocking Luck, another example of the remarkable rise of Shocking's early start to his stud career, was having only his fifth race start and looks a stayer of some worth coming through.

Masa Tanaka probably had no choice but to sprint Lincoln Blue from the barrier from his outside gate and the Savabeel colt began so brilliantly he was four lengths clear of the others when Tanaka took him over to the inside rail to take it up.

To use that amount of energy and finish in the 1-2-3, three-quarters of a length from the winner, was huge, another example of how even this Derby is going to be.

Cha Siu Bao shortened a fraction after his useful fourth and Hall Of Fame, in running fifth, turned in a better run than it looked. He drew fairly badly, was checked quite badly leaving the home straight, which made the stewards' report, then had to go three and four wide to improve around the home turn.

Although racing a touch dour, he finished his race off strongly and as a Derby run it was not too devastating. His last 600m time would be close to the winner's.

The stable declared Highlad might need this one more run heading to the Derby and it looked that way as the talented 3-year-old raced fiercely most of the way.