Matamata trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott are hoping to pick up a consolation prize this weekend with their two-pronged attack on the Listed Wayne Wilson (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The stable presented quality gallopers Dragon Leap and Dark Destroyer in the Gr.3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben last month, a ballot exempt race for Saturday’s A$3 million Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), with Dragon Leap narrowly beaten into second.
As third emergency, Dragon Leap is unlikely to gain a Stradbroke start and will again go head-to-head with Dark Destroyer, who is set to improve second-up off a long break.
“We went over there and were hoping Dragon Leap would fire,” Scott said. “We went into the first race (Gr.2 Victory Stakes, 1200m) and we had him running super and he ran last. He pulled up and had a bit of a blow and just found the race a bit sharp.
“He took the necessary improvement from that race and if we had drawn a gate we would have had some sort of confidence last time but we drew 15 and he did a heck of a job to only be run down in the shadows of the post after a wide run.
“He probably just peaked a bit then too and will improve again with that run.
“He galloped brilliantly yesterday (Tuesday) at Eagle Farm on the outside of the course proper and we think he is going really well. He has won over the distance before so he does tick a few boxes.”
Group One winner Dark Destroyer hadn’t raced since September when he beat just one runner home in the BRC Sprint, but Scott was pleased with his efforts.
“Nash (Rawiller) got off him and he was quite happy with him,” Scott said.
“He said his last 100 yards he was working to the line again. He has probably benefited from the three weeks between runs and a bit more warmth and sunshine on his back. He arrived a bit later than a few of the others.
“We think he has gone the right way and his work on Tuesday indicated he has improved. There was a gap between him and Dragon Leap going into the last run but the gap has closed a little bit.
“The mile is going to help him, he will be an interesting runner. We are hoping he pulls a rabbit out of the hat on Saturday and he is back on track.
“It wouldn’t surprise us at all, he is high quality with massive amounts of ability and he should be getting a fair bit closer on Saturday for sure.”
The pair will clash with Antino, a progressive son of Redwood, who has been beaten only once in eight starts for Tony Gollan.
“Antino is very good so he will have to bring his A Game to win but we can’t fault the horse, he is going well,” Scott said.