Co-trainer Tom Dabernig is confident about a Black-Type win at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday with the stable’s returning youngster Dam Ready in the 2016 McKenzie Stakes.
One of two stakes races on the Melbourne card on the weekend, the $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m) field is down to just seven starters.
Mick Price has ruled out China Dream (2) but still has Baffert in the mix, while the Lindsay Park operation is down to one runner also after Rampage was scratched from the set weights plus penalties sprint.
Rampage still runs on Saturday but heads to Adelaide for a start in the first at Morphettville Parks with Matthew Neilson booked for the ride.
“There’s a little bit of strength to it, but certainly on his win last preparation, when he won at the Valley – then he also ran a competitive race up in Sydney – he should be a good each-way chance in Adelaide,” Dabernig told Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
Their remaining hopeful in Melbourne is More Than Ready gelding Dam Ready who has had three starts to date over a consistent two-years-old autumn campaign.
The galloper ran fourth to subsequent Blue Diamond Stakes champ Extreme Choice on debut at Caulfield in early February’s Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m).
He then broke his maiden status over the same distance at the tight Moonee Valley circuit with a smart two and three-quarter length win over Moshki a fortnight later.
Last time out Dabernig and co-trainer David Hayes, who has since added his son Ben to the team, sent the horse to Morphettville where he finished fourth behind She’s Positive in Adelaide’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m).
First-up Dam Ready heads back to the track of his sole win to date, the Valley, and has his regular rider Luke Currie back in the saddle with the horse racing for the first time since being gelded.
Currie will ride the improver from barrier six on 55kg and Dabernig said liked their galloper’s chances first-up.
“When he won at the Valley that was over 1000 metres and it was a really strong win, then he was favourite for the Magic Millions in Adelaide,” he said.
“He was a little bit disappointing in that, but we then turned him out and gelded him.
“He’s been working very well and he’s a winner at Moonee Valley. I think, although it’s a tough race, he can run a really competitive race. I like his chances.”
Current favourite in the updated McKenzie Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Darren Weir-trained Ken’s Dream ($2.05) who blitzed his debut at Echuca on August 7 over 1000m in the wet by nine lengths.
Dam Ready is the early market mover backed in from $7 to $4.40 to post his second career win.
He is longer than only the favourite and the Danny O’Brien-trained Stratum colt Verstappen ($3.60) who has Damien Oliver aboard after the hoop rode him to a four and a quarter length win at Pakenham on the synthetic track on August 5.
Check out the full weekend racing markets for Moonee Valley online now at Ladbrokes.com.au and enjoy having your first deposit matched dollar for dollar up to $500 (excluding NSW) when you quote the code BETBONUS!