After catching the eye with a narrow Moonee Valley win on the weekend connections of the Tony Vasil-trained De Fine Lago have confirmed a 2013 Grafton Cup target for the veteran galloper.
A rising eight-year-old son of Delgao Brom, De Fine Lago held on in a tight finish on Saturday to beat home Upbeat by a nose, third over the line Oregon Spirit eventually awarded second on protest, in the $100,000 Dominant Handicap (2040m).
While the win itself wasn’t exactly as dominant as the race name, it was enough to suggest they would stay in work for black type run this winter.
Not having run in black type company since the 2011 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, De Fine Lago could now be backing up in the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 11.
After their Queensland campaign two years ago the horse spent 22 months sidelined due to a suspensory injury and subsequent bout of colic.
They were bought back in April this year with their Moonee Valley victory their first since returning to racing.
Vasil had earlier indicated the Grafton Cup could be on the cards for the comeback stayer.
The news Ciaron Maher’s talented Postponed gelding Mr O’Ceirin, second in last year’s Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield, was also Grafton Cup-bound however dampened his enthusiasm.
But on Saturday the $1.60 odds-on fancy Mr O’Ceirin was no match for De Fine Lago at Moonee Valley finishing a well beaten sixth boosting Vasil’s confidence heading towards Grafton.
“That was unexpected,” Vasil said after the race.
“I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the favourite was a good thing.
“He (De Fine Lago) ran third in a Brisbane Cup, he should have won a Hobart Cup and he’s had a few things go wrong with him, injury-wise.
“At the moment he’s as sound as a bell. He’s no spring chicken but he’s only very lightly raced.”
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