Kris Lees has placed a caveat on the resurgent form of Dal Cielo despite the former New Zealander making it successive city wins at Randwick.
A Group One winner in New Zealand as a two-year-old, Dal Cielo found his way to Lees after losing form.
On the journey, he also lost his manhood, a few owners and a liberal dash of confidence.
But since going into Lees’ Newcastle stable, Dal Cielo has rediscovered how to win with his victory in Saturday’s Chi-X Sprint coming after a Warwick Farm success last month.
Dal Cielo started a clear-cut favourite at $2.50 but Lees said he was concerned after assessing the horse’s condition in the mounting yard parade.
A delay behind the barriers when a horse had to reshod only added to Lees’ anxiety.
“The heat is affecting all horses today but I thought he was just starting to melt a bit before the race,” Lees said.
“And then with the delay he was just starting to get a bit stirred up.”
Dal Cielo was forced to race four wide in a midfield position under Glyn Schofield but his new-found desire to win allowed him to hold off the quality mare Denmagic ($7) and win by a neck.
“He didn’t have a great run in transit but I thought Glyn handled him very well. He presented him at the right time,” Lees said.
Lees said the days of trying to fast-track Dal Cielo into richer sprint races were long gone since the four-year-old had been gelded.
“He’s got to step up a little bit to start thinking about better races. It’s still summer form but we’ll step him up in trip now and that will give us a good guide to where we’ll get to,” Lees said.