English import Dal Harraild will be searching for his first win on Australian soil when he lines up in the Group 2 $300,000 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on Saturday.
Dal Harraild is one of five Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained horses nominated for the 2019 Zipping Classic and the stable is hoping the former English stayer can go one better than last year when a nose second to two times winner The Taj Mahal in the 2018 version.
“He ran well at Sandown (in the Zipping Classic) last year and it’s going to be a small field so we’ll definitely be positive,” Eustace told racing.com.
“We purposefully missed the Queen Elizabeth because we thought it would come up too strong and I think we pulled the right rein.”
Dal Harraild has finished well off the pace at his three runs this campaign which includes a sixth in the Group 3 $500,000 The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 5 and then could only beat one runner home when tenth in the Group 3 $400,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 23.
A post race examination after the Geelong Cup failed to reveal any abnormalities but Dal Harraild subsequently showed signs of lameness in his near side fore leg and Racing Victoria Stewards will require a vet certificate to clear the seven year old of any fitness queries before he is allowed to take his place in the Zipping Classic fields.
“He’s ultimately been a bit disappointing,” Eustace said.
“We thought his first up run was really good and to be fair to him he hasn’t had a lot of luck, he’s missed the kick the past two starts and he’s definitely a horse that needs to roll along, not necessarily in front but up on the pace.
“He hasn’t been able to do that in The Bart Cummings and he closed off well. You can put a line through the Geelong Cup.”
Dal Harraild has had seven starts for the Maher and Eustace stable after being transferred from English trainer William Haggs and showed plenty of staying potential during the 2018 Spring Carnival with three placings from four starts.
As well as being the runner up in the 2018 Zipping Classic, Dal Harraild also ran second in the Group 3 $350,000 Bendigo Cup (2400m) at Bendigo the start before and then finished third in the Listed $300,000 Pakenham Cup (2500m) at Pakenham before heading for a break.
Maher and Eustace have also nominated Humidor, Bondeiger, Southern France and Big Blue for the 2019 Zipping Classic.
Early betting for the 2019 Zipping Classic at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Humidor, $4.50 Southern France, $6 Gallic Chieftain, $7 Ventura Storm, $9 Dal Harraild, $10 Chapada, $13 Miss Siska, $14 Midterm, $15 Neufbosc, Patrick Erin, Rupture, $16 Savvy Oak, $26 Big Blue, $31 Bondeiger.