A plan hatched in the autumn will come to fruition for trainer Bede Murray at Randwick on Saturday when Darci Be Good bids to deliver him a second Group One Spring Champion Stakes victory.
Murray, who won the race with Universal Prince 11 years ago, earmarked Saturday’s 2000-metre feature as the spring goal for Darci Be Good after he won the Listed Fernhill Hcp (1600m) in April.
“I always knew since the day he was broken in that he had good ability,” Murray said.
“When he won the Fernhill like he did I knew he had plenty of scope to go on the longer races and it was always the plan to come back for this Group One.”
Like Universal Prince, Darci Be Good won the Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle en route to the Spring Champion.
But Murray says that is where the similarities end.
“It’s very hard to compare them, they are two very different types of horses,” Murray said.
“This horse can race forward or back but Universal Prince always got back and had a turn of foot. That turn of foot is the difference.”
While Darci Be Good doesn’t have the explosive finish of Murray’s former star, he has built a handy record, winning half of his six starts.
In all three runs this campaign he has camped off the speed and, both first-up at Rosehill and last start at Newcastle, had too much fight for his rivals.
Those rivals included Spring Champion favourite Strike The Stars, who Darci Be Good edged out first-up, along with Rekindled Alliance and Ambidexter who he relegated to the minor placings last start.
“All of the fancied runners on Saturday he has met and beaten,” Murray said.
“I’m pretty confident.
“Anthony Cummings’ horse (Strike The Stars) is a lovely stayer in the making but we beat him over 1400 metres when we were first-up and he’d had a couple of runs under his belt so our form lines up.”
Darci Be Good has drawn barrier three, directly inside Strike The Stars.
With Newcastle Spring Stakes-winning jockey Glen Boss sidelined through injury, Nash Rawiller will renew his association with the colt.
“He (Boss) was engaged for both (the Spring Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes) before Newcastle because Darci had never had the same jockey twice and Nash couldn’t ride him because he was suspended,” Murray said.
“Nash won on him first-up so he knows him.”
Murray will be chasing his first Group One win since Coniston Bluebird claimed the New Zealand Derby in 2009.