Trainer Murray Baker has confirmed that talented colt Dal Cielo is likely to return to Melbourne for the 2016 Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 5.
Dal Cielo took out the Group 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) as a two-year-old in New Zealand and he made his Australian racing debut with a brave front-running third in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 26.
There was plenty of support for Dal Cielo in the lead-up to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), but he tired late to finish 11th behind Chris Waller-trained Press Statement.
Baker opted to freshen Dal Cielo up for a crack at the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31 and he finished a credible sixth before he finished his campaign with a second place finish behind Mahuta in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) at Sandown on November 14.
The leading New Zealand trainer said that he was yet to make the final decision about whether Dal Cielo will return to Australia, but he told Racing Ahead this morning that the Australian Guineas looks like the most suitable race for the Per Incanto colt.
“That is yet to be decided,” Baker said.
“He just trialed today and he just got beaten, he hit the front and wilted.
“We are very happy with where he is and the problem as a New Zealander is that there are no Guineas races from now on over 1400 or 1600.
“He will probably be forced to race in Australia.”
Another horse that could join Dal Cielo in the 2016 Australian Guineas field is Don’t Doubt Mamma, who was an inconsistent performer during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Don’t Doubt Mamma scored strong wins in the MRC Foundation Plate (1400m) and Listed Lexus Hybrid Plate (1400m) before she was sent to the spelling paddock following her third place finish in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) on November 14.
McEvoy was originally keen to get Don’t Doubt Mamma ready for the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on February 20 ahead of the Australian Guineas, but he had to delay bringing her back into the stable and he is unsure if she will be ready for those Melbourne autumn targets.
“I had to give her a bit longer off than I wanted to,” McEvoy said.
“Timing is key with her.
“I am going to try and get her to The Vanity if I can first-up, but it just may come up a little quick.
“There is back-up races, but I haven’t ruled out a program.”
Dal Cielo and Don’t Doubt Mamma are both currently available at 2016 Australian Guineas odds of $34 with Ladbrokes, while Perfect Reflection ($7) is a narrow favourite from Press Statement ($8), Mahuta ($9) and Palentino ($9).