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Jockey James McDonald won’t offer the outside barrier as an excuse if race favourite D’Argento gets beaten in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Chris Waller trained D’Argento drew the outside gate in the twelve horse Ladbrokes Stakes field but McDonald said that will give the grey plenty of galloping room at his first attempt at racing the Melbourne way.
“There will be no excuses for him. He is a weight age horse I think and I think he will be hard to beat,” McDonald told racing.com.
“I thought if he drew low it would be a bit sticky because of Caulfield and the way that he gallops.”
“Randwick it was okay but the first time to Melbourne I thought I would rather draw out there to give him a bit of room but he is up to a distance that he is ideally suited now.”
D’Argento is stepping up the 2000m for the first time since winning the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas at Rosehill during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival over that distance.
D’Argento has been winless at his three Spring Carnival runs to date but has filled the placings on each occasion with a first up third in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick followed by a second in the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill and was then runner up again in the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick with McDonald in the saddle.
Betting for the Ladbrokes Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has D’Argento marked as the $4.40 favourite with his main rival, his stablemate Unforgotten, breathing down his neck at $4.80.
D’Argento beat Unforgotten home when they ran second and third behind Hartnell in the Epsom Handicap and the Waller pair are expected to be fighting out the finish again.
Unforgotten has drawn in close at gate five with Michael Walker taking over the reins from Kerrin McEvoy who has elected to stay in Sydney on Saturday to ride Redzel in the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick.
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