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Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir is expecting a bold first up performance from his Japanese import Danon Liberty in the 2018 Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben Saturday.
Danon Liberty will be having his first run on Australian soil in the Stradbroke Handicap and Weir said that the six year old has shown enough ability on the tracks since he has been in his stables to be confident that he will run well.
“I’m happy to be taking him, I’m not saying he’s going to go there and win but I’m certainly hoping that he can, he’s going to go there and run really well,” Weir told racing.com.
“There’s no doubt that he’s a top-class horse, he’s got very good ability.
“It’s just a little bit of an ask on Saturday because we’re still finding out a bit about him but he’s well-weighted, he’s in terrific order and I think he’ll run well.”
Danon Liberty has only been weighted on 51.5kg for the Stradbroke Handicap and Weir has booked lightweight jockey Kerrin McEvoy to partner the import.
“Kerrin McEvoy is booked to ride him and I think the key to the race is the 51.5kg, he just seems to me to be very well weighted,” Weir exclaimed.
“Obviously if you go through his form he hasn’t won for quite a long time but hopefully he can get back in that winner’s circle quickly.
“He’s definitely going to improve with racing but we feel that he’s in the right shape to be heading up there and he’s very well weighted and hopefully he can run well.
“He’s a great-looking horse, he’s a beautiful, sound horse and he’s galloped with all our better horses and can work with them so he’s definitely got the ability.”
Danon Liberty is the winner of three of his twenty-seven race starts in Japan and will be having his first start since finishing eighth in the Rigel Stakes over 1600m at Hanshin in Japan on December 9, 2017.
Weir has had plenty of success with horses from Japan with Tosen Stardom and Brave Smash both finding their way to the Group 1 winner’s stall under the guidance of the premiership winning trainer.
Tosen Stardom was one of the stars of the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival with wins in the Group 1 $500,000 United Petroleum Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield and in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington while Brave Smash saluted in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Pre-post betting for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au has Danon Liberty marked at $8.50 while Weir’s other possible runners are Peaceful State at $18 and Voodoo Lad at $21.
Early betting for the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Champagne Cuddles, $5.50 Impending, $$6.50 Care To Think, $7.50 Perast, $8.50 Danon Liberty, $12 Invincible Gem, $14 Osburne Bulls, Santa Anna Lane, $16 Spieth, $18 Peaceful State, $21 Shillelagh, Voodoo Lad, $26 Crack Me Up, $31 Foxplay, Super Cash, The Monstar, $34 Burning Passion, Endless Passion, $41 or better the rest.
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