NEWS PREVIEW

Darabad ready for Pakenham Cup challenge

Expectations were high when French stayer Darabad entered Robbie Laing stables.

Purchased as a potential Melbourne Cup contender and stallion prospect, Darabad is yet to live up to those lofty expectations.

An improved showing when fourth in the 2 m Sandown Cup on November 18 has Laing feeling the gelding is ready to strike in Saturday's Pakenham Cup.

After running 12th in the Adelaide Cup at his Australian debut, Darabad was in pre-training when the decision was made to geld him.

"Everytime he saw a horse, whether it be male or female, he was lashing out at the fences, capping his hocks, and he had no hope of concentrating on being a racehorse," Laing said.

"We made the call to geld him and try and recoup our purchase price on the racetrack."

Laing was disappointed with Darabad's form following the operation but has put it all down to his mental attitude.

"It was almost like I'm not a stallion anymore, I don't want to live," Laing said.

"We didn't have him gelded to June so all the testosterone levels and male hormones have finally worked their way out of his system and he's now just a worker."

Laing said Darabad showed he had turned the corner with a midfield finish at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day before his Sandown Cup performance.

But for a cut to the left side of his mouth Laing thinks Darabad should have gone close to victory last start.

On the Wednesday prior, Laing took Darabad to his coastal property where he took fright at a mob of deer.

"He took off through the bushes and collided with a tree and to pull him up Wayne Cuddihy had to forcibly drag him to a halt," Laing said.

"That ripped his mouth open on the left hand side and I'm sure that's why he hung.

"If he didn't hang and raced truly I think he wins the race.

"To his credit he gave a decent kick at the 200 (metres) and they didn't get past him without a fight."


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