Nominations for the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) were taken on Monday morning, with 19 sprinters declaring for the race. Featured among the nominees is the Gerald Ryan-trained Dothraki.
The five-year-old has run in his fair share of black-type races over the past two years as a colt but failed to show his true potential. After just two starts as a newly gelded horse, Ryan has already seen an improvement and is hopeful of success during a summer series in Sydney.
As a juvenile, Dothraki was aimed towards the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) after finishing in the first three in two key lead-up races – the Group 3 Skyline Stakes (1200m) and Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m). However when it came time for the main event, the then-colt finished dead last.
Earlier in the year the horse had five starts across Sydney and Brisbane, winning just the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) on May 3.
However his first two starts since becoming a gelding have been much more impressive. He finished runner-up in the Benchmark 95 (1200m) at Rosehill after just getting nabbed in the last few strides before coming home first in another BM 95 over 1100m on November 15.
Dothraki was back to second last off the fence and pulled widest in the straight. However he swept up the middle of the track and put the race away nicely. Despite carrying a topweight of 60kg, the gelding managed to sprint well.
He is now set to run his first black-type race as a gelding on Saturday in the 2014 Starlight Stakes, for which he is the second-highest rated nominated horse.
“He has done very well since he won,” Ryan told Sky Racing.
“He is the sort of horse that needs to be held up for one last crack at them and he has a sprint that is unmatched.
“In trackwork he can do things other horses can’t but until he was gelded, he just didn’t put it together on race day.”
Should he run well in the Starlight Stakes, Dothraki will get his next start in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) a fortnight later and then then the Canterbury Classic another fortnight after that.
The Group One Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield is another possible target for Dothraki on February 28 should the gelding measure up during the summer series.
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