Blinkers on for Australian debut

 Dal Cielo (Opie Bosson) racing away with the Gr. 1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Dal Cielo (Opie Bosson) racing away with the Gr. 1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).

Kiwi three-year-old Dal Cielo will race in blinkers for the first time on Saturday when he makes his Australian debut in the Gr. 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

He will be among three runners in Melbourne for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, who will also be represented by Mongolian Khan and Maygrove, with Opie Bosson to ride the trio.

Mongolian Khan will be second-up in the Gr. 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Maygrove will contest the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m).

Dal Cielo has already been a Group One winner (from just five starts), but has long been a candidate for blinkers.

“He has tended to lack a bit of concentration and was all over the place at Ruakaka [when resuming this month],” Baker said. “He has galloped in blinkers since then and went extra well.”

Under the set weights and penalties conditions, Dal Cielo will carry top-weight of 57kg in the Guineas Prelude, with top-rated nomination Press Statement set to remain in Sydney for the Gr. 2 Stan Fox Stakes.

Mongolian Khan has done well since his encouraging resuming effort over 1600 metres in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 12. The Gr. 1 Australian Derby winner finished seventh, but was just a length and a half from the winner.

“I think it will still be too short for him on Saturday, but he’s flying,” said Baker. “He really is going well. I thought he went a great race first-up.”

Wellington Cup winner Maygrove failed over 1700 metres at Caulfield when resuming on August 29, but is stepping up to a more suitable distance this weekend. “He has thrived and he can stay,” said Baker.

Stablemate Turn Me Loose, another victim of the Hastings abandonment last weekend, will be flown to Melbourne tomorrow.

Plans for the Australian-owned four-year-old are uncertain, but he might run in a Listed 1400 metres at Flemington on October 4.

“He had improved a lot with his first-up run and we had been expecting him to go close at Hastings,” said Baker.

Promising three-year-old Collaborate has joined Baker’s team in Melbourne and might run at Caulfield on Saturday week or at Flemington the following day.

– NZ Racing Desk.