Next April will be D-Day for Grant Williams’ Halo Express with the Karnup-based trainer targeting the WA Derby 2015 during the Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival with progressive three-year-old.
Williams named the lucrative $400,000 Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) on April 11 as the major aim for his Danehill Express gelding after he won impressively at Perth’s premier track on Melbourne Cup Day this spring.
Having just his fourth career start Halo Express posted his second victory with ace hoop William Pike guiding him to a smart three-quarter length win over No Smoken in the Yellowglen Handicap (1400m).
Being off the bit and settled six lengths off the frontrunners, it was a super impressive finish from the galloper to win running away on November 4.
His other victory came as a juvenile in a Westspeed 2YO race over 1400m at Belmont Park in June where he raced greenly from barrier 14 (of 15) and still managed to salute by a length.
“His first-up run at Bunbury (when second to Our Brucie Bonus over 1400m on October 19) last month was good but he’s still doing things wrong,” Williams told Perth Racing.
“We’ve given him time because he had plenty of growing to do this year.”
Being most impressed with his runaway win last Tuesday, Williams has now shelved bigger Perth Summer Racing Carnival plans with the youngster in favour of resting him for an autumn comeback.
“He will only have another run or two at most,” he said.
“We’ve already penciled him in for the (WATC) Derby.”
Halo Express, a $6,000 bargain buy from the 2012 Perth Magic Millions Sale, has Group 1 winning pedigree as his dam Don’t say Halo mare Bolasque is from the family of elite level champion Chanteclair.
Williams’ wife Alana is part-owner of the horse and was confident he would appreciate the step up to the mile and a half for the Derby campaign next year.
“Alana said he would appreciate extra ground,” Williams added.
“And (another part-owner) Elio (Galante) is already talking to me about next year.”
Before the autumn there’s a host of summer classics running in Western Australia over the coming weeks including the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on November 22.
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