Gary Moore believes that Group 1 winner Dan Excel faces a tough mission when he carries 63 and a half kilograms in the 2014 Weekend Hussler Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Dan Excel was set to make his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28 before contesting the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at the same venue on Saturday and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, but his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign was placed in jeopardy after he missed the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes due to a virus.
Trainer John Moore elected to run Dan Excel in the Weekend Hussler Stakes rather than at Group 1 level in the Toorak Handicap and Sydney-based trainer Gary Moore, John Moore’s brother, told Racing Ahead that the Shamardal gelding will be up against it with the big weight of his back this weekend.
“He was up in Sydney for me for about two months and he worked well and trialed well,” Moore said.
“He was shipped down to Melbourne, he took ill and he has missed vital training.
“He is probably one week behind and he has been on medication and I think that it is going to be a very tough mission for him on Saturday.”
Dan Excel was included in the 2014 Cox Plate third acceptances that were released earlier in the week and Moore remains hopeful that the six-year-old will be able to run in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship at Moonee Valley in just over a fortnight.
“When you are aiming at such a prestigious race as the Cox Plate you can’t afford to have a hiccup,” Moore said.
“He was supposed to run in the Toorak and John switched him to the Weekend Hussler.
“He has a lot of weight and things haven’t really gone right for the horse.
“Taking that into consideration, he has put on body weight, he is doing well in the stable in Melbourne and I assume he is going to take improvement from the race on Saturday.”
Dan Excel has not been seen at the races since he won the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) at Kranji on May 18 and will be having his first race start at 1400 metres since he finished second in the Group 1 The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin in March.
Dan Excel is currently available at 2014 Weekend Hussler Stakes odds of $8.50, while he is priced at $26 to take out the Cox Plate.