Despite earlier hopes for a mid-to-late year return, Darley have ruled out Victoria Derby runner-up Complacent from this year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Winner of the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in Sydney before their second behind Polanski in the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last spring, Authorized colt Complacent will be sidelined for a while longer yet.
It could be over 12 months out of racing then for the now John O’Shea-trained youngster who is still revering from a nasty tendon injury.
“He’s on a long, extended rehabilitation program from that (injury) and unfortunately he’s going to miss the spring,” Darley racing manager Jason Walsh told Racing Victoria.
The born stayer showed so much potential last campaign when under the preparation of Darley’s former private trainer Peter Snowden, but it’s a sad fact that the owners have come to believe the horse will never live up to that promise.
Well, at least not this spring.
Walsh remains hopeful that they can get the galloper back to race form in time for next year’s autumn features and then a shot at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in 2015.
“Hopefully we can have him back for the autumn and then hopefully 2015 might be his year (for the Cups),” he said.
“He’s a highly-talented colt, the prognosis would probably only be fair to make it back to a decent level on the racecourse but given the ability he’s shown us we’re more than keen to give him his chance.”
Their Victoria Derby form certainly held up during this year’s missed autumn campaign.
Third and fourth over the line in the Derby last year respectively, Thunder Fantasy and Criterion went on to run second and first in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in March.
Then David Payne’s Sebring colt Criterion made it back-to-back Group 1 wins when going up to the mile and a half to take out the Australian Derby on April 12 defeating Darley’s Tupac Amaru.
It seems most bookmakers around the country are yet to get the memo on Complacent however.
They are still well fancied in a number of the pre-nominations markets for the $2.5 Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October paying around $21, odds led by ATC Oaks winning Kiwi raider Rising Romance ($13).
As for Derby runner-up Tupac Amaru, Walsh believes the Street Cry colt is just off the top stayers for the spring.
Last seen running sixth behind Gai Waterhouse’s now 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer in the Sydney Cup, Tupac Amaru is then unlikely to target this year’s spring majors.
“We’ve probably got him pegged as being a tier below the top stayers, so at this stage of proceedings we wouldn’t have any of the major Melbourne spring staying races in mind for him but we’ll certainly give him his chance to progress through the grades,” Walsh said.
“A horse like him and (Tulloch Stakes winner) Gallatin would probably head towards the Coongy Handicap (David Jones Cup) and then perhaps a race like the Zipping Classic or Sandown Cup over two miles on the last day at Sandown look really nice races on paper for those type of horses.”
The $150,000 Group 3 David Jones Cup runs on Caulfield Cup Day on October 18, while the $350,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) and $150,000 Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) are both held at Sandown on 15 November.
Team Darley however still have a stellar line-up of spring stars ready for action over the coming months.
The most recent to be welcomed back into work is their Blue Diamond winning Exceed And Excel filly Earthquake.
Runner-up to Mossfun last start in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), rising three-year-old Earthquake is on the path towards races including the Group 1 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 4 and the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne the following Saturday.
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