By Ray Hickson
Unbeaten mare Daralina Belle will be out to make a Four Pillars statement when she aims for four straight wins at her city debut at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Trainer Matthew Smith has been patient with the four-year-old and brought her through the grades with wins at Goulburn, Nowra and Scone in the past two months and he hopes to see the benefits of that grounding in the Yulong Handicap (1400m).
Daralina Belle already has a slot in the $700,000 Four Pillars, run over 1500m at Rosehill on October 30, so Smith had the luxury of a short break after her easy Scone win on September 7, to give her a trial, and to use Wednesday’s race as the major lead up.
“She needed to learn how to race a bit, she was a late starter, so we poked around with her and tried to teach her what it is all about and she kept improving,’’ Smith said.
“A little bit of a freshen was all we wanted to give her and this fitted in perfectly. She has to step up again and whatever she does on Wednesday she will improve again in the grand final in a couple of weeks.”
She was $1.65 with TAB on Tuesday and is equal second favourite at $7 in the Four Pillars.
The Warwick Farm trainer isn’t getting carried away about the seven length margin in the mare’s trial win on her home track last week but said he saw all he wanted to see.
And with James McDonald taking the ride he has every reason to think the can take the rise in grade in her stride.
“We were out to have a reasonable hit out without going over the top,’’ he said.
“I liked the way she lengthened, she seemed to do it comfortably. She wanted to do it which is good, you want to see them come off a freshen up and do that.
“I’m thinking positively about her. It’ll be interesting to see what James says and how she handles the step up in grade. It’s a much stronger field than she ran against last start so we will learn a lot about her.”
As the Four Pillars field starts to take shape, Smith is adamant a horse capable of running a strong mile will be needed to win and Daralina Belle fits that bill.
Stablemate Majella comes back in trip in the same race and Smith is using it as a bridge to a return to the mile at her next start.
The seven-year-old was runner-up at Kensington two starts back before a battling fifth as favourite at Gosford three weeks ago.
“We’re getting her back for 1400m for this run and will step her back to a mile next start. She’s been going well too and she looks great,’’ he said.
Daralina Belle wins a trial at Warwick Farm on October 5
Matthew Smith’s comments on his other Warwick Farm runners:
Moralist (Race 3): “He’s solid, his work has been good. A bit of a wet treack won’t hurt him. I think he will run his usual consistently good race, sometimes it’s good enough and sometimes it’s not. It just depends on the day but he’s certainly going well.”
Milk Man (Race 4): “He’s raced without any luck at all, we’re back to the mile but with the sting out it might be the right move.”
Montabot (Race 5): “He’s still finding his way, he’s a next preparation job. I took him to Melbourne to give him a run and change things up a bit.”