Darci Be Good’s return to the winners’ list in the Hawkesbury Cup has fuelled ambitions to win Sydney’s summer showpiece, the Group Two Villiers Stakes.
The Bede Murray-trained four-year-old won the Spring Stakes in October 2011 before running a close second to Doctor Doom in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes at his next start.
The ensuing 12 months brought little joy to his connections but they were rewarded for their patience when he took out the Group Three Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) earlier this month.
Murray said Darci Be Good was likely to run in the Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on December 8 as his lead-up to the Villiers (1600m) at Warwick Farm two weeks later.
“The Villiers is the race we want with him this time,” Murray said.
“He has been down at the farm and has had a pretty easy time since Hawkesbury.
“We’ll nominate for the Goulburn Cup but he will probably go to the Festival Stakes.
“He’s still an immature horse and I don’t think we’ll see the best of him until next year.
“It’s just been a question of giving him the time to mature.”
Murray has stables at Kembla Grange but likes to give his horses a change of scenery at his farm at Lake Conjola on the NSW South Coast.
The winner of Villiers gains ballot exemption from the Group One Doncaster (1600m) in April.
After trying Darci Be Good over distances up to the 2400 metres of the Australian Derby, Murray said he would now be restricted to shorter.
“I think eventually he will get up to a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m) but for now we’ll keep him at the mile,” he said.
The last horse to win the Hawkesbury Cup-Villiers double was Carael Boy in 2001.