Dibayani Targets 2016 Epsom Handicap

David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Lindsay Park stable have confirmed the Epsom Handicap 2016 as the major Sydney Spring Racing Carnival goal for lightly-raced import Dibayani after his smart jumpout at Pakenham on Monday.

Lucia Valentina

Lucia Valentina finished last in a Wyong trial ahead of a first-up run in Randwick’s 2016 Warwick Stakes in August. Photo: Steve Hart.

A rising seven-year-old son of Shamardal, Dibayani raced over the 800m on the polytrack at Pakenham with Mark Zahra aboard, leading all the way for a nice win ahead of his new season return.

Still lightly-raced for his age with 21 career starts for just the two wins to date, the former Irish-trained and raced gelding was last seen running ninth to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in early April.

That followed on from a strong autumn that included a second to superstar mare Winx in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) in late February and a fourth behind The United States in Rosehill’s Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in March.

Dibayani hasn’t won a race in Australia, with his last turf triumph being a 2200m Black-Type win in Ireland back in 2013.

He has been racing down under since August last year, which followed a stint in Hong Kong, and had his first run in Victoria in the Group 3 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) 12 months ago when third to Mourinho.

He also ran third in last September’s Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley won for the second year on the trot by The Cleaner, who is on track to target a third straight win in the early spring feature.

This season Lindsay Park assistant trainer Bruno Rouge-Serret, speaking to Racing Victoria after Monday’s trial win, indicated he was likely to resume at Flemington on August 6 in the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m).

He would then head to Sydney targeting the $1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 1 on the AFL Grand Final weekend looking to hand Hayes & Dabernig with their first win in the classic.

The horse’s last start conqueror Lucia Valentina also had a trial on Monday morning but at Wyong in New South Wales.

The Kris Lees-trained Savabeel mare posted her third Group 1 win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes last time out, her earlier elite level victories achieved in the 2014 Vinery Stud Stakes and Turnbull Stakes.

She sat second last in her first public appearance since the autumn’s richest race victory before finishing last over 845m, an easy hit-out ahead of her likely first-up clash with Cox Plate winning mare Winx in the $250,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20.

Her stablemate Le Romain also stepped up his work ahead of a Warwick Stakes Day run first-up in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m), the Randwick Guineas winning son of Hard Spun crossing second to Agent in his 845m trial.

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