New Zealand horseman Murray Baker is hoping the addition of blinkers to the gear of his nicely-bred colt Dal Chielo can give the young gun an edge over his rivals in the 2015 Caulfield Guineas Prelude in his Australian race debut this weekend.
The three-year-old colt is a son Per Incanto and to date has had five runs back home in NZ for two wins, a second and a third.
One of those wins was in Group 1 company at Ellerslie back in early March when defeating Battle Time home by over a length in the Diamond Stakes (1200m).
First-up this time in he ran outside the top three for the first time when beaten only three quarters of a length by The Justice League in the Listed Breeders Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago, an effort he’s out to improve on in his debut down under at Caulfield Racecourse on Underwood Stakes Day with Baker disappointed with the run.
“He covered a bit of ground in the run but I didn’t think he ran that well. He wandered about a bit which is why we added the blinkers,” Baker told Racenet.
“We’ve had a very wet winter in New Zealand and it’s been hard to get them fit.
“The first good track he had to gallop on was when we arrived here.”
Dal Cielo is one of 16 three-year-old colts and geldings facing off in the $175,000 Group 3 BECK Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
He wears the No. 1 saddlecloth with Kiwi hoop Opie Bosson over for the ride on the 57kg top weight in the set weights plus penalties clash where the raider is drawn a treat in barrier two where he should be flying with the blinkers on according to the Cambridge-based Baker.
“He’s worked in them and gone very nicely,” Baker said.
“They certainly switched him on.”
While Baker is yet to trainer a Caulfield Guineas winner, the horseman does have form in Australia with three-year-old stayers having won the 2010 Victoria Derby at Flemington half a decade ago with the ill-fated Lion Tamer.
This year it is the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10 he has in his sights with Dal Cielo who is currently only rated a $51 outsider in the all-in markets for next month’s classic.
For the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, which has produced four Caulfield Guineas winners since 2009, Dal Cielo is an $18 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au.
The markets are firmly led by the Mick Price-trained Ready For Victory ($3.30) in barrier nine with Damien Oliver riding the More Than Ready colt who is after his first win since a successful Flemington debut back in early March.
Two back he was second past the post to Gold Symphony in the Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 29 and last time out he ran a brave third when one and a half lengths off Kinglike in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
The other best fancied Prelude hopefuls this year are the Michael Moroney-trained Sebring gelding Tulsa ($8.50), Ciaron Maher’s last start Listed Exford Plate (1400m) winner Bon Aurum ($9) and market mover Speith ($9.50) who has just his third run here from a wide barrier 13 draw.
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