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D’Argento’s sectional times suggest he is capable of reaching a high level

Ken Boman | 26.01.2018

The Chris Waller-trained three-year-old D’Argento (So You Think) looked good in scoring a first-up win at Randwick on Saturday to remain unbeaten after three starts and a subsequent analysis of his sectional times suggest that he is a very good colt capable of holding his own in Group One company.

Ridden quietly by Hugh Bowman, D’Argento settled well back in fourth place in the small five-horse field, behind a good tempo set by the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained filly Shumookh (Dream Ahead).

Bowman then steered the colt along the rails from the 600 metres and after taking a split to challenge at the 200 metres, D’Argento finished too well for Shumookh to take out the Benchmark 75 for three-year-olds (1300m) quite comfortably by a neck at the post.

Racing on a Good 4 track, time for the 1300 metres journey was 1:15.93 (11.68 200m rate), which is equivalent to 1400 metres in a quick 1:21.77.

The sectional times of the race were also surprisingly quick, D’Argento returning 200 metre sections (from the 1200m point) of: 11.33, 11.45, 11.71, 11.37, 10.60 and 11.08.

D’Argento therefore clocked 21.68 (last 400m), 33.05 (last 600m), 44.76 (last 800m), 56.23 (last 1000m) with his final 1200 metres in 1:07.54 – excellent times.

The colt has been patiently handled by Waller, D’Argento winning a Two-Year-Old Maiden (1200m) on debut, late in his juvenile year on 15 July. He then won a Two-Year-Old Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill on 29 July before spelling and Saturday was his only race start since.

He was purchased by Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds for $135,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sales and his pedigree suggests that 1600 metres to 2000 metres should be his forte.

After Saturday’s success, Waller said that D’Argento’s immediate mission would be the Randwick Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) on 10 March and his efforts On The Watch on the weekend suggest the colt should certainly be effective in that Group One race.

The runner-up, Shumookh, is also a horse capable of progressing to better things.

She too has been patiently handled, only racing once previously for an impressive win, on debut in a Three-Year-Old Maiden (1250m) at Canterbury on 10 January.

Shumookh’s front-running role on Saturday also resulted in quick sectionals. Her 200 metre breakdown (from the 1200m) being: 11.14, 11.46 (22.60 first 400m), 11.86 (34.46 first 600m), 11.54 (46.00 first 800m), 10.80 (56.80 first 1000m) with her final 200 metres in 11.30, giving her a final 1200 metres in 1:08.10.

In the preceding race, the Team Hawkes-trained, Emirates Park-raced filly Estijaab (Snitzel) was another filly to really take the eye at Randwick.

Making her racetrack debut, Estijaab was brilliantly away from her outside barrier (9) but had to work a bit in the early stages before crossing to a clear lead approaching the 600 metres.

She then settled well, dashed clear at the 200 metres and went on to take out the Two-Year-Old Plate (1000m) very easily by four lengths in the really smart time of 57.28 on the Good 4 track.

Estijaab also produced impressive sectional times, her 200 metre breakdown (from the 800m point) being: 10.41, 11.27 (first 400m 21.68), 11.21 (first 600m 32.89) with her last 200 metres in 11.29 to give her a fast final 800 metres in 44.18.

She is clearly a quality filly with a very bright future who will now head towards the Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Rosehill on 24 March with sound claims for that race while the fillies’ lead-up races should prove relatively easy pickings.

On the subject of promising juveniles, the Lindsay Park-trained and Shadwell-raced filly Enbihaar (Magnus) demonstrated her quality in winning the Two-Year-Old Handicap (1000m) at Morphettville when racing on debut on Saturday.

She was a bit slow to move but Cory Parish soon drove the filly through to race in second place, behind a good tempo set by the leader Chicago Typewriter (Street Sense).

She challenged that horse strongly at the 200 metres and then finished too well to score by a half-length and in good time of 57.69 on a Good 4 track.

Enbihaar also produced impressive sectional times, with her final 800 metres in 44.27, last 600 metres in 33.99, last 400 metres in 22.77 with her final 200 metres in 11.68.

While Enbihaar’s victory was recorded in a class far removed from that of Estijaab in winning at Randwick, she still looks a filly that will be effective in much better classes than she defeated at Morphettville.

Meanwhile at Flemington the talented three-year-old Nature Strip (Nicconi) took his record to four wins from five starts in winning the $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m).

He again showed speed, racing close to the pace being nearest to the Grandstand side, before going to the front at the 300 metres. Nature Strip then fought back really well under pressure to defeat Prezado (Denman) by just under a length with Bravo Tango (Congrats) running on well for third.

Time for the 1100 metres was 1:03.06 (11.46 200m rate), equivalent to 1:08.79 for 1200 metres which is smart time.

After a steady early pace from the barrier, Nature Strip (from the 1000m) returned a 200 metre breakdown of 10.74, 10.76, 10.79, 10.74 and 11.54.

That gave Nature Strip a final 1000 metres in 54.66, last 800 metres in 43.92, last 600 metres in 33.16 with his final 400 metres in 11.55 – impressive times – while the placegetters also showed they are three-year-olds likely to progress to better things.

Prezado clocked 54.51 (last 1000m), 43.81 (last 800m), 33.04 (last 600m) and 22.34 (last 400m), with Brave Tango returning the fastest closing times of the race with his last 1000 metres in 54.60, last 800 metres in 43.46, last 600 metres in 32.75 with his final 400 metres in 21.99.

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