There was strong mail for this beautifully bred son of Exceed And Excel, out of Flight Stakes and Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer, on debut at the ANZAC Day Randwick meeting. But unfortunately for Danawi, he ran into one of the most promising young gallopers in the land in The Autumn Sun, who powered over the top of him late.
Tim Martin spelled him immediately, and we've seen him trial at his home track at Rosehill twice now. The first occasion saw him leading at a leisurely pace when asked to do absolutely nothing in the straight, resulting in a close-up third. He wanted to get the job done in his second trial a fortnight later, travelling strongly throughout and given a very slight push late to easily win.
Right now, he's a $26 chance in the Golden Rose. That might seem a long road to that race for a horse that hasn't even won yet, but I've got little doubt the connections believe he's a very talented colt. They'll want to give him every opportunity to prove that and not leave his run too late; he needs a win straight away to get his rating up to a level that secures starts in events that can get him to that point.
That journey begins with a win here.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Like so many Lonhro fillies, Almanzora is a lovely type. She showed precocity early, but now looks set to furnish into a better galloper as she gets older. We get to see her return for what will be her only start as a three-year-old as she's had more than a year off.
Almanzora flashed ability in three starts as a juvenile, winning on debut at the midweeks, then being tested straight away in Stakes-company where she started hard in the market on but was just found a wanting a little on both occasions.
I'm not sure why she had the long break, but she looked the part in two Randwick trials leading into this. She was ridden extremely quietly in the first one and was asked for too much but still ran an eye-catching close-up fifth. She was then put into the race from the outset in her second trial, sitting outside leader and eventual winner Siege Of Quebec. Arguably under less pressure than him as they went across the line with only a narrow margin splitting them, it was a very encouraging effort from Almanzora.
She returns here against the males and while some of them are capable midweek types, none have anywhere near the upside that she possesses. If she gets the right run in transit and doesn't strike traffic issues, I expect her to just be too classy for this lot.
Illumicon should have been unbeaten in his first prep when completely luckless on debut at Morphettville prior to winning in good fashion at Bendigo. But the son of Nicconi never came up in the early part of the autumn, looking plain in two starts, and Tony McEvoy pulled the plug quickly on his campaign.
He's given Illumicon six months off to recover and we now see him return in a deep looking midweek three-year-old race. He's drawn very wide for this first-up assignment; but with just the one turn to worry about, and given the fact that Illumicon is going to be ridden quietly, I think the wide draw might just work in his favour. He should hopefully get every chance to run on down the outside once they straighten.
Even though McEvoy tested him over seven furlongs last prep, I honestly think Illumicon's caper will be purely short course events, perhaps even kept a little on the fresh side between runs. For me, he's a get-back, run-on sprinter and a pretty decent one at that when right. Unless one of his less-experienced rivals here is really top shelf, then he can win this and head towards a decent Saturday race, perhaps even black type at some stage.
OVER THE ODDS
When watching the race live, I could have sworn Zaidin got up at Geelong last start. But he had to share the spoils with Royal Pegasus, who would have been stiff not to get something out of the race after being held up. Nonetheless Zaidin's effort to dead-heat for first, as a two-year-old, albeit a late-season one, against the older horses was a very encouraging effort.
David Brideoake accepted with him a couple of Saturday's back, but he was scratched raceday morning. Whether there was a slight setback I'm not entirely certain; but he's in a decent midweek two-year-old event here with some juveniles that have put in some lovely efforts. Still, I thought his win was certainly up there among the better performances; I'll be chiming in at his current double-figure quote.
Leg 1 - 3,4,8
Leg 2 - 1,6,8,9
Leg 3 - 8,11
Leg 4 - 3,6,9,14
($100 = 104.17%)
Leg 1 - 2,4,10
Leg 2 - 2,5,6,7
Leg 3 - 3,5,7,11,13,16
Leg 4 - 9,10
($100 = 69.44%)