After being a late withdrawal at Randwick on Boxing Day, Group One-winning former New Zealander Dal Cielo is scheduled to head back to town for the Summer Sprint at Warwick Farm.
The winner of the Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie as a juvenile and a dual Group placegetter as a spring three-year-old in Melbourne when trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Dal Cielo will be having his second start for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees.
Dal Cielo was transferred to Lees after his 2016 autumn campaign and was gelded before making his re-appearance with a closing second under 62.5kg at Muswellbrook in November.
He was a late scratching from a sprint at Randwick on December 26 when he was found to have blood in a nostril after a float mishap.
“He bumped his head in the float and was a late scratching on Boxing Day which was unfortunate because it looked a suitable race,” Lees said.
“This is a bit stronger race but he’s only had the one run for us and it was a pleasing run. Whether he finds the 1000 metres a bit sharp for him, that’s a possibility but he’s going to the races in pretty good order.”
Lees is unsure whether Dal Cielo will get back to the form he showed early in his career but is hopeful the four-year-old is in for a good preparation.
“You can see he’s got a stack of ability, but he has got a few vices,” Lees said.
“Gelding him I think has helped, but he’s still got a bit to go too.
“Whether he can get back to where he was, I’m not really sure but his rating is low enough that hopefully he might be able to put a couple of Saturday wins together at some stage.”
Lees’ Warwick Farm nominations include unraced two-year-old Septango who is also entered at Newcastle and the Gold Coast with Lees still unsure where he will go.
“We’ll decide after he works in the morning,” he said.
Septango was scratched from a race at Canterbury on Saturday. Lees said the colt had a slight cough last week so they held him back.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s a horse who’s probably still a preparation away but if we found the right race he would be competitive,” he said.
Septango still holds an entry for the Magic Millions Classic on Saturday week.
“It would be highly unlikely but who knows,” Lees said.