Eagle Farm trainer Lawrie Mayfield-Smith is giving Intergaze gelding Danagaze one last chance to prove his potential as a stayer when the galloper lines up in the Ipswich Cup on the weekend.
Tomorrow is D-Day for Danagaze as Mayfield-Smith saddles him up in the $200,000 Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m), a race the dedicated horseman is vying for a hat-trick of wins in.
“I’ve won this race twice and got beaten a nose on another occasion,” Mayfield-Smith said.
Mayfield-Smith won his first Ipswich Cup back in 1991 with Appleton Gold, his next coming five years later with Fine Spy.
It was a close call in 1999 for him, Reputed Groom just defeated on the line by Bozeman beating him out of his Ipswich Cup hat-trick.
Five-year-old Danagaze has had a 14-start career of solid results, the potential stayer having gone in and out of Mayfield-Smith’s preparation due to his reputation as a racing rascal.
Danagaze has produced five wins and four placings to date, but has been far from a dream to train according to Mayfield-Smith.
“He’s always been a bit of a lad and I think I’ve sacked him about four times but I ended up keeping him each time as a favour to his owners,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“He used to throw his work riders every time he’d walk onto the track and when he raced in Sydney he’d never settle, but now he’s a lot more mature.
“The Workcover bills went through the roof at one stage and I thought I’d need to win a Melbourne Cup to pay them.”
This year’s Ipswich Cup field attracted 15 final acceptors, the Yves Seguin-trained Kiwi import Arcenciel and John Bary’s New Zealand-trained The Hombre topping the odds for the feature.
Drawn ideally in barrier four and due to be ridden by Andrew Spinks on 53kg, Danagaze is rated a $10 chance in the Cup showdown after a number of promising runs during the winter in Brisbane.
“It’s (the Ipswich Cup is) normally a race for lightweights and it doesn’t bother me Danagaze is still a Class Five horse,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“Appleton Gold was a Class Five horse when he won the Ipswich Cup so I can’t see why this bloke can’t do the same.”
Sprinks comes in as the replacement rider for Glyn Scofield who was aboard Danagze for their latest run but is now riding overseas for a stint.
Saturday will be their fifth run this prep, Danagaze having won their first-up race over 1200m at Doomben on April 16.
After the Doomben win, Danagaze went on to run a credible third behind Silent Movie in a 1400m handicap at the Gold Coast on May 7.
Their two most recent runs haven’t been quite as strong, Danagaze stepping up to Group company for the first time on May 21 when finishing three and a half lengths away sixth behind Firebolt in the G.3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1615m) at Doomben.
“He won well at Doomben back in April then was placed at the Gold Coast before he ran in the Lord Mayor’s Cup,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“That was weight-for-age and he was never suited in that type of race but he had to run in it as part of his program.”
They come into the Ipswich Cup on the back of a fifth behind Heartshaker in the Mittys Class 6 Plate (1800m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago and Mayfield-Smith is hoping the step up to 2150m for the Ipswich Cup will give Danagaze the edge they need for an upset.
The horse’s breeding suggests Danagaze should get to the Ipswich Cup distance well, despite him never having run over more than 1800m.
“His grand-dam is a sister to Kinjite so he should make a stayer later on,” Mayfield-Smith said.
Danagaze had no luck during the Mittys Plate run, getting stuck out wide towards the back of the field, his fifth place finish a credible effort under the circumstances.
“When he got beaten at Eagle Farm last start he was caught three and four wide but he was still finding the line,” Mayfield-Smith said.
Despite their shaky history, Mayfield-Smith rates Danagaze as well as he did his previous two Ipswich Cup winners.
“Danagaze is as good as either Appleton Gold or Fine Spy so I’m hopeful he can win the race,” he said.