Danleigh returned to Group winning form in fine style when taking the $175,000, Group 2, WFA Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday aided by an equally fine ride by Hugh Bowman.
The Chris Waller trained Danleigh might be a nine-year-old, and had a recent throat operation, but he totally dominated his younger rivals on Saturday.
Hugh Bowman and Danleigh, far too good for the opposition, picture sportpix.com.au
With Waller reporting that it takes the stable staff considerable effort to keep Danleigh within himself at training such is his enthusiasm there will be more in store from him over the coming spring.
The pace was on from the outset as Somepin Anypin (NZ) and Jay Ford sped through the early sectionals with Ginga Dude (NZ) and Tommy Berry trying to stay in touch. Further back in fourth Bowman tracked Ginga Dude unworried by the 2L margin to the leading duo.
Somepin Anypin was still leading as they went into the final bend, but Bowman was moving forward racing three off the rails. As they straightened the leaders felt the early pace and Bowman and Danleigh arrived at the same time to completely apply the blow torch.
With 300m to run Danleigh was leading and racing in the middle of the track the veteran showed his quality galloping as he headed off to the line.
The $3.10 favourite Secret Admirer (Dubawi) and James McDonald chased valiantly and were clearly better than the rest with Lamasery (Commands) and Peter Robl running into third.
The margins were 3/4L and 2 1/4L with the time 1.36.24 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 35.63. Danleigh paid $6.60 on TAB.com.au and $7.00 on TAB Fixed Odds.
“All these older horses are special. These horses have been with me right from the start,” said Waller.
“We have a handful at the track with him every morning and all the staff do a great job with him just staying on him he is that bouncy. He has been the same since the first day we got him and he is no different now.
“We are probably still learning about him since he now has a clear throat. To me he is showing that he is just a four or five-year-old. Just forget his age and not talk about it, he has still got plenty of racing left in him.
“He goes to the George Main in two weeks. He had not run over a mile until he won the Chipping Norton here at Warwick Farm so now that he is a bit older the George Main will be a perfect race for him,” he said.
“He is a horse that you cannot ride him out of his comfort zone as he will not finish and in today’s race I was able to be a bit closer without having to be outside of his comfort zone,” said Bowman.
“But I took a lot of confidence from his run two weeks ago. I did not ride him last prep and I just have to give congratulations to Chris Waller and his staff and the vets. The horse would have taken a lot of confidence from the last run, I did and I know he would have.
“He was the best horse in the race and all he had to do was to recapture the winning form from his Group 1 form and he was able to do that and I was pleased to be part of it,” he said.
Danleigh came into the race off a good third in the Group 2 WFA Warwick Stakes over 1400m on August 25th. The WFA George Main Stakes for $350,000 over 1600m is on the first day of racing back at Randwick this season on September 22nd.
Danleigh, picture sportpix.com.au
Danleigh is by Mujahid out of the Dr Grace mare Graceful Lily and this was his ninth Group victory and 10th overall from 55 starts. With 17 placings he has earned stakes of $2,443,095 for owner-breeders Mr and Mrs KE and RP Leonard.