Master horseman Lawrie Mayfield-Smith is a man who loves a challenge but even he concedes highly talented galloper Danagaze is a patience tester.
Danagaze returned to racing following a short let-up with a dominant win at Doomben two weeks ago and Mayfield-Smith has confirmed the horse will start next at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The trainer took Danagaze to Sydney last preparation and the horse proved his own worst enemy during the southern campaign.
“He had had no luck down there but that was largely his own fault,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“He over-raced in two runs and was badly ridden on another occasion.”
So unruly was Danagaze as a young horse Mayfield-Smith sacked him but then agreed to give him another chance as a favour for the gelding’s owners.
Mayfield-Smith’s forgiveness has proven a windfall and the astute trainer is now adamant that Danagaze has enough talent to win a feature race.
“He’s still mad. He’ll drop his rider in trackwork and you never know what he’s going to do next,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“But he has a lot of ability – he is still learning to race and he needs to get into the better races to show his best.
“The better staying races are run at a much truer speed than the restricted races and he needs the pace on to settle.”
Mayfield-Smith has nominated Danagaze and his full brother Intertheblack for the Eagle Farm program and he confirmed both horses would definitely run.
Danagaze will run in the $50,000 Class 6 Plate (1200m) and Intertheblack will start in the $50,000 Special Conditions Hcp (1400m).
Mayfield-Smith has also nominated Absent Friends for two races on Saturday but he said the horse will be saved until the following week at the Gold Coast.
“Absent Friends is fine but I just want to keep them all apart,” he said.
Mayfield-Smith has won two Ipswich Cups with Appleton Gold in 1991 and Fine Spy in 1996 and he said Danagaze could easily make the grade this year.
“Where he goes this campaign will all depend on his next few runs but I’ve got no doubt he could easily make an Ipswich Cup horse,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“His work before his first-up win was first class and he can improve further with the run.”
The meeting features the Group Two Victory Stakes which received just 10 entries headed by Group One winners Albert The Fat and Alverta from the Paul Messara stable.
Albert The Fat claimed his BTC Cup victory in the care of Eden Petrie who now looks after Messara’s Queensland stable.