Trainer Matt Cumani is convinced Declares War is in the right shape ahead of a target race at Caulfield.
Declares War runs in Saturday’s VOBIS Gold Heath (2000m) chasing a second win for Cumani and his first as a four-year-old.
After a long three-year-old season culminating in a trip north for the Queensland Derby last winter, Declares War has been given a slow build-up to Saturday’s $200,000 race, a target assignment since he resumed training over summer.
It will be Declares War’s fourth run this campaign and comes on top of a third at Mornington last month and a last-start second over 2100m at Sandown on April 8.
“He’s in great shape and I’ve been really happy with him in the last couple of weeks,” Cumani said.
“Early on we were a little bit open minded what may be his best trip.
“We didn’t know if he would want 2400 metres, or whether he would be a miler and so we didn’t know which way he would land.
“But he’s certainly run great races throughout the prep and now he looks like he would like a strongly run 2000 metres.”
Cumani is hopeful Declares War will not get as far back as he did at Sandown and if there is one negative it is the race is run at Caulfield.
“I’m happy with the barrier, happy with Jye (McNeil) on board and I’m hoping this can be his race,” Cumani said.
“But Caulfield is probably not his track. Flemington suits him much better, but the distance is right and he fits into the race.”
Declares War is the $6 second pick behind Mr Quickie at $1.80.
Mr Quickie won last year’s race before going on to run third in the South Australian Derby at Morphettville and then defeating subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare in the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm.