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As the racing season nears an end, Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani will make a last bid at a Group One double with a couple of three-year-olds.

Dunlani and Declares War leave for Brisbane on Tuesday to contest the Queensland Oaks and Queensland Derby respectively.

The trainer is hopeful there is still improvement in last-start Sandown winner Dunlani ahead of Saturday’s Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben.

“I know it was a benchmark 64 last time but if you look at her previous two runs before that there were excuses for her performances,” Cumani said.

“Her last run at Sandown before her win she was caught out the back in a slowly run race and they got away from her and in Adelaide she got stuck in a pocket and when she needed to get going and build momentum there was no room for her.

“I think Doomben will suit her because they might go along a bit quicker than they would at Eagle Farm as she can get a bit toey.”

After Declares War’s win at Flemington on May 18, Cumani considered sending him for a spell before reasoning the Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 was a winnable race.

Cumani thought Declares War may lack Derby class, but after looking at the potential line-up he decided to take a chance.

“It’s not often we get a chance to run in a Group One and he’s a horse with a legitimate chance,” Cumani said.

“And I think a trip away will really help the horse because since his gelding operation he’s lost a little bit of confidence.

“He shakes in the float and doing something a little bit different like getting on the float regularly, getting on an aeroplane, going to the beach every other day, I think that will help.

“Then after the Derby he can have a little spell up in the sun.”

The pair galloped right-handed at Ballarat on Saturday with Cumani saying they came through the hit-out well.

Cumani said that was Dunlani’s last piece of serious work while he intended to give Declares War a gallop at Eagle Farm in the lead-up to the Derby.

 
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