It may have been a year between wins for the Jason Warren-trained Danger Close but on Saturday the six-year-old is set to defend his Doveton Stakes 2015 title and retain an undefeated Sandown-Hillside record.
The Written Tycoon gelding has won six of his 29 career starts to date, half of which have come from his three previous runs at a track he returns to this weekend for a shot at back-to-back $120,000 Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) victories.
The horse went back-to-back at Sandown-Hillside in March last year over 1000m before a Flemington win over the same distance over subsequent Group 3 winner and dual Group 1 runner-up Lord Of The Sky that April.
He won again this time last year when making it three-from-three at Sandown when jockey Craig Newitt guided him to a narrow win over Mr Make Believe in the Doveton Stakes from barrier one of nine.
He hasn’t finished in the money again since with a string of unplaced runs over the past 12 months including his last start fifth when two lengths off Trevinder in a Benchmark 90 at Moonee Valley over 955m on November 13 from the outside alley (11 of 11).
“He’s not a first-up horse but he had a really nice run there at Moonee Valley the other day and ran fifth, storming home,” the Mornington-based Warren told AAP.
“I think the run was a better first-up run than what it was last year going into this race [on the back of a first-up third over 955m at Moonee Valley].”
Warren hopes a return to Saturday’s track can break the drought for Danger Close who is one of 20 Doveton Stakes nominations this year.
“He’s always well back and you think he’s not going that well, but then he’s got an unbelievable last 400 metres,” Warren said.
“The Hillside track suits him perfectly.
“They run along down to that corner and he’s trailing them, but then he can get to the outside and let go.”
Newitt is currently on a break and Warren is hoping to secure the services of Ben Melham for Danger Close in the Doveton this year.
Melham has ridden the horse twice under race conditions, most recently for his fifth at Flemington down the straight behind Hard Romp on April 11 during the autumn.
Warren has also entered Not A Single Doubt five-year-old Single Days, the gelding not having raced since a failed 10th behind Hard Stride over 1200m at Flemington back in February.
He trialled at Cranbourne on November 23 however for a 1.5 length victory with Luke Currie aboard and could be set for a return to the track on the weekend having just his eighth start and first in black-type company.
Other notable Doveton Stakes nominations this summer include the Leon & Troy Crostens-trained Tried And Tired in his first run since an unplaced effort behind Amovatio in July’s Listed Winter Championship (1600m), David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s veteran eight-year-old Pago Rock, Street Sense five-year-old Hard Stride and Joe Pride’s Sydney raider Diamond Oasis.
The 2015 Doveton Stakes field and barriers are out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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