One-time Irish classics prospect Duca Valentinois returns to the scene of his most important Australian win when he attempts to take out a second consecutive Listed Darley Scone Cup on Friday.
A reliable, honest performer, Duca Valentinois has had a similar, but more encouraging, preparation to that which preceded his win in the same race a year ago.
In 2017 he finished down the field in the Hawkesbury Cup before going on to score impressively at Scone.
This time he finished a good fourth in the same Hawkesbury race, leading trainer James Cummings to consider him a strong chance for a repeat victory here.
“Duca Valentinois arrives at the Scone Cup with a really solid grounding to peak for what is his grand final for this preparation,” Cummings said.
“He ran home strongly from back in the field last time after a gap between runs and appears to have improved ahead of this.”
If there is any concern, it is the six kilograms extra Duca Valentinois will be asked to carry in this year’s race.
“Since winning this race 12 months ago he’s added another Listed win to his resume, but if he can handle the weight penalty he can be very competitive,” Cummings said.
Duca Valentinois heads a strong Godolphin contingent at the two-day Scone meeting which features the appearance in Stakes company for the first time of Osborne Bulls, one of the more promising members of the Australian stable.
Osborne Bulls (Rachel King), who runs in Saturday’s Listed Luskin Star Stakes, has put together six wins and three placings from his only nine starts.
The Godolphin team also has good prospects in the G3 Dark Jewel Classic where Ghisoni (Tye Angland) and Philosophy (Andrew Adkins) tackle a strong field of fillies.
In the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes the three-year-old fillies Demerara (Brenton Avdulla) and Resin (Rachel King) are expected to run well despite drawing wide gates.
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