Racing: Daniel looks 'rite' for comeback sprint

Daniel with jockey Joao Moreira astride, in action during a race at the Singapore Turf Club in Kranji on 25 August 2013.

Promising three-year-old Daniel will, no doubt, draw plenty of interest when he returns from a three-month lay-off to contest Race 7 - a $75,000 Progress race over 1,200m - on Sunday.

The Laurie Laxon-trained and Oscar Racing Stable-owned galloper caught the attention of racegoers last year when he bolted home by more than seven lengths as a two-year-old at his debut in July.

TASTING DEFEAT

The New Zealand-bred son of Guillotine then treated his Novice rivals with the same contempt at his next race, his first as a three-year-old, one month later before tasting defeat for the first time in a Graduation race over 1,200m.

Beaten that day by Rite Of Spring, he was quick to exact revenge on the Michael Freedman-trained galloper at his fourth start, scoring narrowly in a Progress race over 1,400m.

Then came the bigger tests at Group level.

Though he acquitted himself with merit in the Group 3 Magic Millions 2013 More Magic Championship (1,600m), running second to the ultra-smart War Affair, he dropped the ball in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1,400m) to register his worst performance in six starts when last of nine runners on Nov 10.

The vet report mentioned he returned lame near-fore, but Laxon said it was nothing serious and he was due for a break anyway.

"He ran well against War Affair in a 1,600m race, but that took a bit out of him, and his next start (EW Barker Trophy) told me he needed a spell," said Laxon.

COMING ALONG FINE

"He came back lame, but it was nothing to worry about. It was time to put him away as he had come to the end of his prep and he's since been coming along fine.

"I think he should be right up there with the best three-year-olds this year. On his first-up record, he goes well fresh-up and should give this a pretty good sight."

To spice things up further, Daniel will bump into arch-rival Rite Of Spring on Sunday, as Freedman has by coincidence picked that race for the China Horse Club's three-year-old's comeback.

Unlike Daniel, Rite Of Spring did not contest the "Black Type" events after his last encounter with Daniel, electing for an easier path which yielded a handsome win in a Progress race over 1,200m at his last start last November, on the same day stablemate Tropaios won the Longines Singapore Gold Cup.

"He's a nice three-year-old too. It would be interesting to see how both go at their comeback," said Laxon of Rite Of Spring

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