Anthony Cummings-trained Drago is one of a number of classy colts that have been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) that will be run at Randwick on October 12.
Cummings has set the Danehill Dancer colt for an extensive Group 1 campaign, which includes the Spring Champion Stakes as a key lead-up run for the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) – a race that he won with Fiveandahalfstar last year.
Drago started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an impressive first-up second in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m), finishing off strongly in a performance that indicates he is looking for a staying trip.
Cummings is the best represented trainer in the Spring Champion Stakes nominations with twelve potential runners but Drago appears to be his best chance to record his third victory in the Group 1 event after previously winning with Hotel Grand (2005) and Teranaba (2006).
Gai Waterhouse is the only trainer who has won the Spring Champion Stakes on three occasions and she has given herself nine opportunities to win the race for a fourth time in 2013.
Pitcrew and Bull Point are the most well-credentialed of her entries for the feature race but the leading trainer has made a habit of bringing a horse out of nowhere, like she did with runner-up Proisir last year, to become her leading Spring Champion Stakes fancy.
The Spring Champion Stakes is one of the few Sydney Group 1 races that have not been won by Chris Waller and he has a relatively light group of six horses included in the nominations.
Northern Meteor colt Zoustar looks like being his top chance to end his drought in the event but the three-year-old is no guarantee to head towards the Spring Champion Stakes.
Zoustar is the favourite for the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) and has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), with his spring path set to be decided after his first-up run in The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Murray Baker, who won the race with It’s A Dundeel last year, is no chance of defending his title but his son Bjorn has nominated four gallopers for the event.