Scobie Breasley Medallist Dwayne Dunn is concerned the inside alley isn’t the place to be when he jumps aboard the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained favourite Defcon in the Danehill Stakes at Flemington Racecourse this weekend.
One of the key support acts on a stellar Makybe Diva Stakes Day card, this season’s $200,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) features a final field of 12 three-year-old sprinters.
Heading the line-up and drawn barrier one for Dunn is in-form Choisir colt Defcon.
The consistent and improving youngster is the firm $4 favourite in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au after the draw, but Dunn is not convinced he has the advantage barrier-wise.
“You’d have to say so [barrier one a negative],” he told Racing Victoria.
“The inside hasn’t been the place to be nine times out of 10 there, and if the rain comes, it’ll make it very difficult.”
A winner of two of his five career starts to date, Defcon was last seen winning first-up at Caulfield Racecourse on August 27.
This weekend Defcon drops a half-kilo to 58kg, but still gives the kilos away to his rivals in the Danehill Stakes at set weights plus penalties.
He also sees the Flemington straight-six for the first time and how he likes the famous straight course will be key to his chances of saluting for the punters.
That said, Dunn described Defcon as an “awesome horse” and still rated him highly ahead of his second-up test.
“He’s an awesome horse, his turn of foot he showed last start at Caulfield was exceptional,” he said.
“He’s a serious horse, he’s got a serious race ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll acquit himself well.”
The two gallopers that ran home second and third in the McNeil Stakes trifecta a fortnight back also tackle the Danehill Stakes this weekend.
Runner-up Highland Beat is drawn gate four with Mark Zahra riding the Lindsay Park-trained perennial placegetter who pays $7.50 to turn the tables on his last start conqueror.
The son of Exceed And Excel is also as yet untested at Flemington, and has run second in four of his past five assignments.
Stuart Webb’s McNeil Stakes third-placegetter Wazzenme is a nicely-bred son of Wanted, the progressive colt an $11 shot from barrier seven on Saturday with Luke Nolen retaining the ride.
Dunn has a ride in all nine Flemington races on Saturday including in the meeting’s marquee event – the $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) aboard the Hawkes Racing-trained Entirely Platinum.
Coming off a first-up third in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) from mid-August, the Pentire seven-year-old is rated $14 to get the better of the likes of Darren Weir’s Memsie Stakes winner Black Heart Bart ($2.25) and his stablemate Palentino ($6).