Matt Dale is not only a good trainer but also a good form student.
Dark Eyes took out Thursday’s The Les Carlyon at Flemington after Dale noticed something on the gelding’s form card.
Formerly prepared by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Dark Eyes was having his fifth start for the Canberra-based Dale and is now headed towards the Wagga Wagga Cup on May 3.
After pleasing Dale with his performance in the Victoria Handicap at Caulfield last Saturday, Dale left Dark Eyes at Lindsay Park’s Flemington stable with Thursday’s race in mind.
“It took me a while to work him out,” Dale said.
“I freshened him up and it was off that freshen he ran at Caulfield last Saturday but I had in the back of my mind that if he ran well I’d back him up.
“His profile on the back-up in seven days was three starts for two wins and a second.
“I thought in a slowly run race the other day he was good, without looking good, but his sectionals were outstanding so I instantly said to the owners I’d keep him down here for this race.”
Dale said Dark Eyes looked beaten a number of times throughout Thursday’s race as he is a horse that does not possess a lot of brilliance.
“To see him come back like that off the canvas is a proud moment with a horse that was a little bit out of form,” Dale said.
“He’s on the float home tonight to prepare for the Wagga Cup.
“He’s backed up before three consecutive weeks in a row very successfully, so hopefully he can do it again.”
The Les Carlyon (1710m) at the Anzac Day meeting was named for the late journalist, author and war historian who died last month.