Jockey Peter Robl is certain that racegoers will see a more mature race horse when Drago lines up in the Group 3 $125,000 IBIS Styles Lansvale Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
The Anthony Cummings trained three year old will be stepping out for the first time this Spring as he works towards a start in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 2 and Robl is confident he will make the grade.
“He has definitely come back a more mature horse,” Robl told the Sportsman.
Even though Robl believes that Drago will excel as the distances get longer, he is certainly giving him a winning chance first up in the Up And Coming.
“You have to be mindful that he is first up over 1300m but he is progressing nicely,” Robl said.
“He is definitely a winning chance.”
“He will improve with the run and he will appreciate further but he has the ability to win this race on Saturday.”
Cummings has a tough Spring Carnival planned for the Danehill Dancer colt including several Group 1s pencilled into his Derby lead up runs.
All going well, Cummings will head towards the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 14 and his Sydney program could also include the Group 1 $400,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 12 before heading to Melbourne.
Drago has already been tested at Group 1 level during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and showed that he wasn’t far off the mark.
He finished fourth behind Guelph in both the Group 1 $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon 150th Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
Cummings then sent Drago out one more time in the Autumn and he ran away with a four length win in the $85,000 Centrebet Juvenile Stayer (1800m) at Rosehill on May 11.
Cummings is also looking for back to back Victoria Derby trophies after winning last year with Fiveandahalfstar.
The Up and Coming Stakes is shaping up as a real contest with Drago coming up against Fuerza again after the Bjorn Baker trained three year old beat him home when second in the Champagne Stakes.
While the Chris Waller trained Vilanova showed he is not far off the pace with a fourth to Romantic Touch in the Group 1 $500,000 Patinack Farm J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Vilanova has been posted the early $4 favourite for the Up And Coming Stakes with Drago at $4.80 and the unbeaten Pitcrew the next in the betting at $5 while Fuerza is rated a $8.50 chance.