2017 Melbourne Cup Target for Darabad

Imported French galloper Darabad may have had just the one run down under to date but already trainer Robbie Laing has named the Melbourne Cup 2017 as the horse’s major spring target.

Darabad is set to face the likes of Articus (pictured) at The Valley. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Darabad is set to face the likes of Articus (pictured) at The Valley on Saturday. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

The five-year-old son of Dansili has had just the eight career starts to date, his sole win being a Listed race over the mile and a half in France in August of 2016.

Darabad arrived down under joining Laing’s Pearcedale stables this autumn and after back-to-back Cranbourne trials in March he debuted down under in the Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Cup (3200m).

In that Morphettville two mile feature the progressive stayer ran a distant 12th beaten nearly 15 lengths by the winner Annus Mirabilis and was sent straight back out to the paddock.

He was gelded during his spell in an attempt to get the best out of him on the track starting with his return at Moonee Valley this Saturday.

Laing is set to accept Darabad for a $100,000 Handicap over 1500m that is shaping-up as a star-studded affair.

“Darabad needs to get going and so he’ll run in the 1600m [sic],” Laing told Racing Victoria.

Getting into the race on just 54kg the import could face the likes of Darren Weir’s French import Articus, Boom Time from the Lindsay Park stable along with their Crown Oaks runner-up Harlow Gold who all hold entries in the Valley showdown.

“They’ll be a big quick for him but he’s a gelding now and is far more genuine,” Laing said.

“His work is much better this time in.

“Ultimately, the Melbourne Cup [is his target] but it’s a hard race to get into so he’ll have to win a Herbert Power or a Geelong Cup.”

Both the Group 2 $400,000 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 14 at Caulfield Racecourse and the Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 25 offer a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner.

Futures Melbourne Cup 2017 odds at Ladbrokes.com.au on the classic, running on Tuesday November 7, are currently led by Japanese raider Admire Deus ($13).

Laing has saddled-up two Melbourne Cup horses in the past 30 years without success, but hopes Darabad can make the grade this season.

Nominations for the Group 1 $6 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) are set to close on August 29.

To check out the full pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting odds and back your early selections for the ‘race that stops a nation’, visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.

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