Chris Waller’s veteran galloper Danleigh may have bummed out in their first official trial of the year but connections say it is still all systems go heading towards the 2013 Chipping Norton Stakes next month.
The Mujahid nine-year-old has been out with a minor leg injury since September last year after two good first-up wins at Warwick Farm including a win in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) were followed by a sixth to stable mate Shoot Out in the Group 1 George Main Stakes over the Randwick mile – a race they won back in 2010.
Nearing a return after missing the rest of the spring Danleigh failed to impress on Tuesday morning at ‘The Farm’ when they ran eighth of eight in an 800m trial won by the Joe Pride-trained Ten To Zero.
While on paper that run was a shocker, Waller’s racing manager Liam Prior said Danleigh had most definitely recovered from his earlier injury and they were just getting back into the rhythm.
“It (the injury) hasn’t seen him in the paddock for any longer than he would’ve been,” Prior said.
“The trial was just to give him a look around and a feel for racing again.
“He’s come through it well and we’ll push on for another campaign with him.”
A four time Group 1 champion, Waller and co. are hoping Danleigh can regain his form from early last prep and get back in the winners’ stall this autumn as they head towards the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 9 in their seventh autumn campaign.
The old warhorse won the 2011 Chipping Norton Stakes and will go to the race via the same races, all going to plan, in 2013 with the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 9 and the $250,000 Group 2 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at the same track a fortnight later both likely options.
“We’ll kick off in the Expressway on February 9 and then the Apollo Stakes,” Prior confirmed.
“It’s likely he’ll go from there to the Group I Chipping Norton over the mile at Warwick Farm because he loves that route but after that we’ll reassess.
“He’s a race by race proposition.”
He ran in the same three races last year as well when sixth in the Expressway and then third to Apollo Stakes beaten both times by Rain Affair before a brave second to Shoot Out when defending their Chipping Norton title.
Danleigh, like 20 other Waller-trained runners, has also been nominated for the 2013 Doncaster Mile, the $2 million feature to run at Randwick on April 20 during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
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