Dalasan is one of the outsiders of the Cox Plate field but trainer Leon Macdonald makes a good case why that shouldn’t be the case.
Hall Of Fame trainer Leon Macdonald has been left scratching his head trying to figure out how his star galloper Dalasan is one of the despised outsiders in for Saturday’s $5m Cox Plate at The Valley.
The gun son of Dalakhani was the Group 1 field’s ultimate long shot with some bookies for most the week and was still a $41 outsider with TAB more than 24 hours out from the premier 2040m event.
“I can’t believe it,” Macdonald said.
“He has raced a horse like Mo’unga three times and beaten him three times including last start in the Epsom and Mo’unga is more than half his price.”
Macdonald, who trains alongside Andrew Gluyas, has good reason to wonder why his five-year-old became the loathed outsider of the weight-for-age field.
While he is yet to crack it for a maiden Group 1 win, Dalasan has finished on the podium and within a length of the winner in three of Australia’s biggest races already this year.
Dalasan finished third behind Cascadian in the Doncaster Mile in April at Randwick, beating home Cox Plate favourite Zaaki and the import’s stablemate Mo’unga in the process.
He backed up seven days later to finish less than a length off British star Addeybb when crossing the line alongside Cox Plate combatant Verry Elleegant in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
His final lead-up run for the Cox Plate was another ripper. The five-year-old entire only narrowly went down to Private Eye, finishing third in the Epsom Handicap.
“He‘s got form around all of them,” Macdonald said.
“Maybe it’s because he hasn’t won a Group 1? He’s won $3m in prizemoney.”
Dalasan heads into the Cox Plate having his fourth run this spring but a start in the race might have seemed unlikely not so long ago after a race day incident back at Morphettville before his first run.
Dalasan had to be scratched from the Group 3 Spring Stakes after escaping his handler and bolting back home towards Macdonald and Gluyas’ Morphettville base.
He slipped over during the incident and suffered a minor setback that forced the stable to alter his spring preparation.
“The mishap was a hiccup because he didn’t run in the Spring Stakes or the next one and then he going to go to the Makybe Diva but he wasn’t ready,” Macdonald said.
“We ended up having to go to the Valley over the 1200m which he wasn’t suited to but he picked up well and was right back on track after that.
“He ran well in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes when he was off the track but then the Epsom run was excellent.
“I think he should still be on the way up too. He‘s got more to give.”
Dalasan was one of the notable absentees from Tuesday’s Breakfast With The Stars at The Valley but enjoyed his final serious hitout down the road at Flemington on the same morning.
“He has been to The Valley before so he didn’t need to go,” Macdonald said.
“He worked at Flemington on Tuesday and the work was great.
“We worked him on his own. He is nice and fit now so we didn’t need anything to difficult.”
Daniel Moor rides Dalasan in the Cox Plate from barrier three.
Originally published as Leon Macdonald shocked by Dalasan’s price in Cox Plate