Queensland trainer Tony Gollan, while confident in the condition of his sprinter Temple Of Boom, knows he’s facing a tough field in Saturday’s 2014 Darley Classic at Flemington.
One of two Group 1s on the Emirates Stakes Day card, this year’s $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) features a boom line-up that Gollan knows his Group 1 winning son of Piccolo will have to be at his best to beat.
“He is well but it looks like being the race of the spring so it won’t be easy,” Gollan told AAP this week.
Thirteen star sprinters are set to face off in the event, running as Flemington Race 6 at 3:40pm (AEDT), including eight-year-old Temple Of Boom drawn in barrier nine with Tegan Harrison to ride.
The horse’s regular rider, Harrison has been aboard for his past seven runs going back to April’s Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) win at Eagle Farm.
Following that Temple Of Boom had three straight Group 1 assignments during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival that resulted in a fourth (BTC Cup) and two seconds when narrowly defeated by brother Spirit Of Boom (Doomben 10,000) and fellow Darley Classic rival this weekend River Lad (Stradbroke Handicap).
This time in Gollan’s lined him up in Melbourne three times, the most recent of which was in Moonee Valley’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
It was a blanket finish in the Manikato with under a length separating the first eight over the line including Temple Of Boom who was half a length away sixth to the winner Lankan Rupee.
The Manikato Stakes is the form race for Saturday’s Darley Classic then with all but one of the first eight over the line all backing up on Stakes Day at Flemington.
Mick Price’s Darley Classic winner Lankan Rupee has barrier 11 to contend from as he looks for back-to-back Group 1 wins while at the other end of the field is the reigning VRC Classic winner Buffering with the rails run.
Rob Heathcote’s fellow Queenslander was one further back than Temple Of Boom in the Manikato under the lights at the Valley and jumped from barrier one, Damian Browne aboard again, when winning the Darley Classic last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The other headliner in Saturday’s showdown then is European raider Slade Power debuting down under with one final run before being retired to stud.
Edward Lynam’s Diamond Jubliee – July Cup double winner has been hitting the headlines with his trainer asking for the know barrier rouge to be last to load into the gates before jump time on the weekend.
Darley Classic betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au meanwhile are led by up-and-coming sprinter Chautauqua ($2.30) who comes off back-to-back wins at the track and distance.
Lankan Rupee is next best in betting at $5 followed by Slade Power ($7.50) while Temple OF Boom is the $51 outsider.
To check out the full markets and back your early Darley Classic tips for this year’s clash visit Ladbrokes.com.au where for $3 you could win $3 million on Oaks and Stakes Day this week in the Megapick!