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French import Darbadar came to Australia earlier this year and after nine month’s will finally get his first start in the country on Saturday in a Benchmark 84 Handicap over 1600m at Moonee Valley with Craig Williams in the saddle.
The four-year-old arrived an entire but after his initial preparation, trainer Saab Hasan recommended gelding the “boisterious colt”. He has really come into his own since the operation and the trainer believes he has a special horse to work with in their second preparation together.
“He’s been a bit of a handful but we’ve worked him out now,” Hasan told Sky Racing.
“He’s still acclimatising to Australia as his coat still hasn’t come right out but he’s ready to go to the races and have a day out.”
Darbadar had five starts in France last year, which included a win in the Prix De Villevert (2400m), before making the journey to Australia.
Saturday’s BM84 is the first step in a very long range plan to get the gelding a qualification in the 2015 Melbourne Cup. Hasan has been training Darbadar to get some more sprint in his legs considering European stayers come to Australia a little one-paced.
He impressed in his first barrier trial at Cranbourne over 1550 metres on November 10, finishing less than one length behind Tommy Two in second place.
“He had two jump-outs over 800 metres at Flemington and didn’t get warm,” Hasan said.
“We put the blinkers on him in his trial and he went very well.
“He’s got a lovely cruisy action and the further he goes the better he’ll get.”
Darbadar could face off against Tommy Two once again seeing as he is one of the 27 horses nominated for the Moonee Valley race.
This Saturday marks the beginning of Darbadar’s Australian racing campaign; there’s no telling where the gelding will end up next November.
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