3.5 million is a price tag that takes some justification and that adds an extra level of pressure. Unable to make it to the track as a juvenile in 2019, Darain is looking to make up for lost time this season, quickly winning both his first two starts, showing huge promise in the process.
John Gosden knows the family of Darain inside out. The fourth mating of Dubawi and Dar Re Mi, Darain is a brother to So Mi Dar, Lah Ti Dar and Too Darn Hot. More like his two sisters so far, he looks to have a nice mix of cruising speed and stamina which should be a potent one-two punch going forward.
Oisin Murphy only had to nudge him out over the ten furlong trip to make an impressive debut. We’re yet to see how strong that form is from those behind but as the old adage goes, you can only beat what’s put in front of you.
He did it by four and three-quarter lengths so it wasn’t a close run thing. Given his pedigree, he is always going to be a talking horse and punters will be expecting him to win in such a fashion given that price tag.
Very different ground at Newmarket on Friday afternoon. Murphy kept him wide but unlike his debut when he looked a professional, this time he failed to settle. Giving seven pounds plus to all his rivals, he had plenty in the tank to forge clear late in the day. Given how much he did wrong, it has to go down as another smart effort.
He wasn’t put under huge pressure to come away up the hill, that rising ground looking to suit him well on a quick surface. Connections were happy, “Darain is a work in progress and he learnt a lot today. He won comfortably in the end and may well enjoy a bit more ease in the ground.”
“There are no specific targets for him after that but he’s a progressive type.” That was the immediate debrief from Gosden afterwards, giving himself time to go home and assess. A general 16/1 chance for the St Leger, the prevailing conditions would suit him in the autumn.
He looks a resolute galloper, doing his best work late on over ten furlongs. He should stay a mile and a half which would open up more opportunities for him. Perhaps that trip at York for the Great Voltigeur would be a suitable stepping stone to dip his toe into better company. Wherever he appears next, one thing is for certain, public expectation will be high in the hope of him being a star.