Darren Weir admits Danon Liberty may miss the Stradbroke. Photo: Michael Klein
Darren Weir admits Danon Liberty may miss the Stradbroke. Photo: Michael Klein

Weir plays waiting game with import

MASTER trainer Darren Weir doubts his highly-rated Japanese import Danon Liberty can sneak into the field for Saturday's $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben after being bumped to first emergency.

The impressive six-year-old looked almost certain to gain a run in recent days, but was relegated on Wednesday when Aquis Farm decided to pay a $45,000 late entry fee for last-start Moreton Cup winner The Monstar.

It means Weir has to rely on a scratching to secure a start for Danon Liberty, who has been heavily backed to win his first race in Australia. He still rates as an $8.50 chance with Ladbrokes for the 1350m Stradbroke, having been as much as $26 a week ago.

"It will be hard for us to get in now, I would have thought," Weir said. "Who wants to scratch a horse from a Group 1 race?

 

"I don't know what happened with The Monstar, but they are the rules, and the rules say they can get in. There is not much we can do about it. It's out of our hands now."

Danon Liberty flew to Brisbane on Wednesday with Weir's other Stradbroke runner Voodoo Lad on a chartered jet, along with a handful of other horses set to contest the big day's racing at Doomben on Saturday.

Weir's plan had been to give the horse one run in Brisbane and then a freshen-up to enjoy the Queensland sun before a likely assault on the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

"I don't really know what we will do now," Weir said.

Weir said Danon Liberty was "in great shape", but played down the comparisons that others had made with his now retired Japanese star Tosen Stardom, who was also owned by Australian Bloodstock.

Voodoo Lad will carry Darren Weir’s hopes in the Stradbroke if Danon Liberty fails to gain a start. Picture: Getty Images
Voodoo Lad will carry Darren Weir’s hopes in the Stradbroke if Danon Liberty fails to gain a start. Picture: Getty Images

"I'm not getting over the top about it," Weir said of the hype surrounding Danon Liberty, who won a recent jumpout at Werribee. "

He's in great shape. He's drawn a good gate and everything is right with him, but he has to get a run, and that won't be easy."

Weir's two-pronged attack in the Queensland Derby fared differently at the barrier draw.

"Lucky For All drew out in the car park," Weir said of gate 19 for the $5 chance, while he thought Heavenly Thought ($7) had "drawn the right gate" in barrier one.

He has to play a waiting game with Platinum Angel, a last-start second to The Monstar, with the smart filly a first emergency in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m).

Weir has other good hopes on the day with Peaceful State in Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m), and Kiwia in the Brisbane Cup (2200m).

STRADBROKE HCP

Race 5, 2.15pm

1. IMPENDING J Cummings D Browne (9) 57.5kg

2. SANTA ANA LANE A Freedman B Melham (3) 55.5kg

3. CRACK ME UP L Birchley J Byrne (5) 53.5kg

4. ENDLESS DRAMA C Waller G Schofield (20) 53.5kg

5. VOODOO LAD D Weir C Parnham (7) 53.5kg

6. SPIETH D & B Hayes & T Dabernig C Williams (21) 53.5kg

7. FOXPLAY C Waller M Walker (19) 53kg

8. MOST IMPORTANT T Gollan M Du Plessis (2) 53kg

9. THE MONSTAR B Cavanough S Bogenhuber (8) 52.5kg

10. SHILLELAGH C Waller M Dee (10) 52.5kg

11. CARE TO THINK M Dunn T Clark (16) 52.5kg

12. BURNING PASSION M Newnham M Cahill (15) 52kg

13. SUPER CASH A Noblet J Kah (13) 51.5kg

14. INVINCIBLE GEM K Lees B Avdulla (17) 51.5kg

15. PERAST P Perry J Lloyd (12) 50kg

16. CHAMPAGNE CUDDLES B Baker C Brown (1) 50kg

17e. DANON LIBERTY D Weir - (6) 51.5kg

18e. OSBORNE BULLS J Cummings K McEvoy (4) 51.5kg

19e. MOSS 'N' DALE P Gelagotis A Darmanin (11) 51kg

20e. PECANS J Pride - (18) 51kg

21e. I'M A RIPPA T Gollan - (14) 51kg

Sky's the limit for Proserpine State High School students

Sky's the limit for Proserpine State High School students

Sky's the limit for Proserpine State High School students

Prossie revved up ahead of festival

Prossie revved up ahead of festival

Interclub series zooms into town

Double act to hit the stage at GC

Double act to hit the stage at GC

"The place was packed and it was a really good time,” he said.

Local Partners