Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
After winning the Fiesta Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, four-year-old gelding Churchill Dancer will likely tackle the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) on New Year’s Day.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained gelding put himself in the mix for the 2014 Standish Handicap when he won less than a head clear of fellow placers The Bowler and King Of Manners in Saturday’s Benchmark 78.
Churchill Dancer settled back of the speed and found himself held up approaching the 400m mark. Once he got through he managed to surge nearer the inside of runners and just put his head down to score his first victory since the Smithfield Handicap (1200m) back in April.
“He’s got a real liking for the straight and his coat has finally come right,” co-trainer Dabernig told Sky Racing.
“I think we might have to consider a race like the Standish with him now.
“We’ll see how he pulls up but he’s a pretty sound horse but that’s where we’ll probably head.”
The gelding seems to have a real affinity with the Flemington straight. He’s raced over the 1200m course five times with Saturday’s victory his third win. The fact that he’ll likely see a drop in weights from the hefty 60kg he carried in the Fiesta Star Handicap also makes the 2015 Standish Handicap the next logical step for Churchill Dancer.
Hayes and Dabernig scored a double at Flemington on Saturday with two-year-old filly Claudia Jean providing the second leg in the Christmas Season Plate (1000m).
She is now the $9 second favourite to win the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at Ladbrokes.com.au. The January 10 race at the Gold Coast is worth a total $2 million.
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