While initially confirming a tilt at the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) this weekend as highly unlikely, leading trainer Chris Waller has seemingly performed a backflip in relation to the path taken by talented miler Boban this preparation.
With the major target of the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) looming just one week later, Waller told TVN that while not figuring in plans initially, the Doncaster Mile is now without doubt the best option to ensure the Bernardini gelding is in prime condition heading into April 19th’s feature race.
“They are race horses, that is what they are here to do and there is no point just protecting them” Waller said.
Poised to carry a race-high weight of 58kgs in the Doncaster Mile, Waller confirmed Boban find the starting gates this weekend in prime condition.
“It is a $3 million race, he is fit and in good form. Yes he has a big weight, but he deserves it” Waller added.
Regular jockey Glyn Schofield agreed with Waller’s sentiments, conceding a run in such a well-contested event at weight-for-age requires strong preparation.
“Going three weeks in to a 2000m weight-for-age race like the Queen Elizabeth Stakes would not have been ideal” Schofield told TVN.
Boban was undeniably one of the country’s highest performers over a perfect 2013 spring preparation, winning five races from five starts including Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) to close his memorable campaign.
Unable to justify resounding favouritism in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) first-up this time in and finishing a forgettable fifth, Boban was unlucky when blocked for a run and fourth in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) on February 22nd, but returned to the winner’s circle when back to his prime distance in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1500m) on March 8th.
Despite a less-than-convincing run for seventh behind Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) last time out, Boban will be aiming for his fourth consecutive win at 1600m in the 2014 Doncaster Mile and poses a seriously chance to deliver Waller a fourth Doncaster Mile crown this weekend.
Heading what is likely to be a six-pronged attack from the Waller stables; Boban is set to be joined in the 2014 Doncaster Mile field by Hawkspur, My Kingdom Of Fife, Royal Descent, Sacred Falls and Weary.