Trainer Clinton McDonald has high hopes for three-year-old Danuki and is looking forward to the colt beginning his spring campaign in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Danuki showed talent in his two starts as a juvenile, winning comfortably on debut in a maiden at Donald before finishing second after racing wide from the outside barrier in the Vobis Gold Ingot (1200m) at Caulfield in April.
McDonald said Danuki was suffering from shin soreness at his second start but has been delighted with the way the colt has come back from a spell.
“His last start he was shinny and that’s what probably cost him,” McDonald said.
“He’s been in work since the first of June so he’s had a good fitness base put into him and we’re going there on Saturday happy, but there’s still plenty of improvement to come.
“Like everyone at this time of year, you’re hoping that they’re going to measure up to the better races.”
Danuki is among a field of 12 for Saturday’s Listed 1200m race for three-year-old colts and geldings and will be ridden by Mark Zahra.
McDonald believes Danuki is a high quality colt and said at this stage he’s thinking the son of Exceed And Excel is more of a sprinting horse, so the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) could be the long range target if his performances warrant it.
Danuki does hold a Caulfield Guineas (1600m) nomination if McDonald decides to step him up in trip.
“His pedigree suggests that he’s a sprinter, but he’s a very relaxed horse so he could get out (in distance),” he said.
“We have got a nomination in the Caulfield Guineas, but I think we’ll get through Saturday first and then we can start to work out what direction we do go with the horse.”
Danuki finished second in a jump-out at Sandown last week ahead of his first stakes test.
“Mark Zahra rode him (in the jump-out) and was glowing in his report,” McDonald said.
“He worked well again on Tuesday and we’re going there feeling that our horse is fit and well and it’s a nice starting point for him.”
Article from justhorseracing.com.au