Leon Macdonald is keeping an open mind on a program for Dalasan, just hoping to win a nice race during the spring carnival in Melbourne.
Dalasan is set to line up in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday, but pending that race no decision has been made as to the path the four-year-old will take.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m trying to win a Group 1 race,” Macdonald, who trains in partnership with son-in-law Andrew Gluyas, said.
Macdonald said Dalasan needs to find winning form to ensure he gets into the better spring races.
He sees the Turnbull Stakes, run under set-weights and penalties, as a suitable assignment although the trainer said there will be better weighted horses than his charge in Saturday’s race.
“He’s got to run the mile-and-a-quarter, but I think he can do that at Flemington,” Macdonald said.
“He ran the 2500 metres in the South Australian Derby alright and it took a good one to beat him.”
That good one was Russian Camelot who also finished ahead of Dalasan in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12 and vindicated the form with victory in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Dalasan finished fifth behind Fierce Impact in the Makybe Diva, a race that did not pan out for the entire.
“He was a victim of circumstance as he ended up outside the leader and realistically if he could have had the run of the winner, he could have won the race,” Macdonald said.
“It’s very difficult when you get to Group 1 racing, you need everything to go your way, so we’ll see what he does on Saturday, but there’s all sorts of possibilities.
“If he doesn’t win the Turnbull, does he get in the Caulfield Cup, and if he doesn’t get in the Caulfield Cup, the Coongy Handicap might be a good race for him.
“It’s a funny thing to be saying, but there is no program.
“The program is trying to win a nice race with him and that may even be the ($2 million Group 1) Mackinnon Stakes on the last day at Flemington.”
The Turnbull Stakes has drawn 23 nominations including Fierce Impact, last year’s winner Kings Will Dream, Shared Ambition, Surprise Baby, Verry Elleegant and Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare.
Verry Elleegant has been installed the $4 favourite in early betting with TAB ahead of Surprise Baby at $6 with Fierce Impact and Master Of Wine on the next line at $8.
Dalasan is rated a $15 chance ahead of Wednesday’s final field and barrier draw.
Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington on Saturday, picture Racing Photos