Undefeated colt D’Argento will lead Chris Waller’s three year old Autumn Carnival Group 1 contenders when he steps out at Randwick on Saturday in the $100,000 Nelune Foundation BenchMark 76 Handicap.
D’Argento won both his races as a two year old and will make his three year old debut alongside of his stalemates Merovee, Paret and Al Mah Haha.
“We backed off this horse the right time, that would normally be in your favour when they return,” Waller told Racing New South Wales News.
“I think he will need a mile to get to his best but it is a good starting point.’’
Waller has earmarked the D’Argento along with several other three year olds in the stable as likely Group 1 contenders for the 2018 Autumn Carnival with making it a priority to qualify one or all of them for the Group 1 $1m Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 10 or for the Group 1 $1m Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3.
“They are horses we have identified as being Group horses,’’ Waller said.
“It’s important for the second raters, which these guys are now, to have a run under their belt when the big boys come back. They have to improve but they are capable of it.’’
D’Argento has drawn the outside barrier in the seven horse field on Saturday with Hugh Bowman taking the mount and Waller said that they have put a lot of effort into the So You Think colt to teach him to settle in his work.
“It was to go a little bit keen so we’ve worked hard to switch him off and settle,’’ Waller said.
“Hughie just asked him to quicken a little bit and brushed him home the other day which I think was good, especially for a colt because they do need to be reminded of what they are there for.’’
Paret was given his chance to show his wears over the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival but the Harbour Watch colt was a well beaten fifth in three year old company over 1000m down the Flemington straight on Melbourne Cup Day.
That run convince Waller that Paret won’t be at his best until he steps up to the 1600m.
“I made a mistake by running him overt 1000m at Flemington, I thought he was a natural speedster,’’ Waller said.
“The positive is it has taken the nervous energy out of him. He actually came back and relaxed well and he’s done the same in his trials.’’
D’Argento has been installed as the $2.60 favourite for the Nelune Foundation Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au with Paret the next in the betting at $4.50 while Al Mah Haha is marked at $6.50 and Merovee is the outsider of the field at $15.