Trainer Chris Waller believes that imported stayer Danchai will be very hard to beat when he steps up to 2200 metres in the 2014 Premier’s Cup at Doomben on Saturday.
Danchai joined the Waller stable at the end of last year, after previously being prepared by William Haggas in the United Kingdom, and has performed well in all four of his race starts in Australia, but is yet to record a win.
The Authorized gelding made his Australian racing debut with a third place finish in the Bert Lillye Memorial Handicap (1300m) at Kembla Grange on March 23 and ran home fairly when given an opportunity at Group level in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5.
Danchai was denied his first race win in Australia when he finished second behind Spillway in the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 26 and was second again behind Pretty Pins in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 10.
Waller believes that Danchai will relish the additional distance on offer in the Premier’s Cup this weekend and is hoping that the youthful exuberance of leading Brisbane jockey Tim Bell will get the five-year-old over the line in the Group 3 event.
“I think that it will be a different story with this distance and he will be very hard to beat,” Waller said.
“Tim Bell is on board and he is a good, young rider.
“He is a good, keen kid and he is second on the Queensland Premiership and I think that he will be suitable for this horse.”
Another Waller-trained galloper that will be stepping up in distance on Saturday is Vilanova, who finished a fair fourth behind Amexed in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 10.
Vilanova will contest the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday and Waller said that the Commands gelding is still a chance of running in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 if he performs well this weekend.
“Barrier 15 he is going to have his work cut out and I just want to see him finishing off,” Waller said.
“If he is, he will run in the Derby in two weeks and if not he will come back home.
“He is going well enough and a bit of rain about would be good, but don’t think that there is much chance of that.”
Danchai is available at 2014 Premier’s Cup odds of $5, while Vilanova is available at the lengthy quote of $14 to take out the Grand Prix Stakes.