Trainer David Hayes has underlined the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) as a likely spring target for Dibayani, after the classy import returned to racing in excellent order over the weekend.
Jumping from the gates well in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, jockey Mark Zahra elected to take Dibyani to the rear of the field of eleven as the race’s early leaders set a fair tempo from the outset.
Appearing out of contention upon arriving at the final straight, the Shamardal gelding mustered a particularly scintillating turn of foot to run on for a close second behind the Darren Weir-trained Sooboog.
Hayes was understandably pleased with the six-year-old’s first-up performance, and while yet to settle on a specific path, told Racing Victoria that he believes the Epsom Handicap will prove an ideal target.
“There are two ways we could do it, one is head to Sydney for the Tramway, which is a few weeks away and then the Epsom,” Hayes said.
“Or I may keep him here in Melbourne and run him down the straight again in the Bobby Lewis and then go to Sydney after that.
“Either way I want the Epsom to be the third run of his campaign and to keep his runs spaced.
“The Memsie would be a lovely race for him to target in Melbourne but he just gets on his wrong leg this direction and is much more effective the Sydney-way.
“Racing down the straight doesn’t pose any problems but obviously 1200m is well short of his best distance.
“I’m really pleased with how he has returned this campaign and his run (Saturday) is proof of that.”
Dibayani has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career since debuting in Ireland in 2012; posting two wins and a further eleven minors through a total of twenty-two starts.
Resuming this year for fourth in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), Dibayani ran second to Winx in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on February 27th before finishing fourth in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 19th.