Promising imported stayer Darbadar will have his second Australian start at Flemington this Saturday after being included in the 2014 Western Health Cup field.
Darbadar was included in the nominations for both The Johnstaff Handicap (2000m) as well as the Western Health Cup, but trainer Saab Hasan revealed that he opted to include the five-year-old in the acceptances for the tougher race to give him some relief in the weights.
The Danehill Dancer gelding was far from disgraced when he made his racing debut at Moonee Valley on November 29 and Hasan told Racing Ahead that he expects a better performance from Darbadar this weekend, but feels he may need another step-up in distance before he is capable of recording a maiden race win in Australia.
“We are running him in the 2000 metre Open Handicap and Craig Williams is taking the ride,” Hasan said.
“The reason for that is that he will get 54 kilos instead of 62 and I want to leave a senior rider on him, so that is the way that we will be going.
“We have altered his work and he galloped on Tuesday morning absolutely brilliant.
“He galloped over 1400 and he really strode out beautiful over the last 600 metres and he had no tongue tie on and no blinkers on and that is the way that we are going to this week.
“He can win a 2000 metre race, but he could just run extremely well this weekend without winning.”
Hasan was hoping to see a promising effort from Darbadar when he made his Australian racing debut in the Wedrive.Com.Au Handicap (1600m) and he said that he was happy with the imported gallopers effort.
Darbadar overraced with the blinkers on in his Australian racing debut and Hasan admitted that it may take the former French-trained horse to get use to the potentially stop start nature of Australian racing.
“His run was super,” Hasan said.
“It’s not often that you would say that when your horse runs eighth, but he ran extremely well.
“Because he is a big boisterous fellow we felt that blinkers would be the key to him and he worked extremely well and trialed extremely well in his blinkers, but just come race day he paraded a little too fresh in the mounting yard and as a consequence he overraced and did a lot wrong.
“I am learning that with these European horses they can take a prep or two to learn how our style of racing is and sometimes our style of racing can be stop and start and they aren’t really use to that overseas.
“He is getting there and his whole attitude since he raced has been wonderful.”
Darbadar will face stiff competition in the Western Health Cup after the likes of Fat Al, Tuscan Fire, At First Sight, Extra Zero and Lightenuff were included in the acceptances for the $80,000 race.