Chris Gangemi has high hopes Durendal can score a breakthrough Perth win in the $100,000 Listed Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Gangemi believes the five-year-old gelding will appreciate a rise in distance and is primed to snare his first win since entering his Ascot stable.
Durendal transferred to Gangemi after winning seven races and placing five times in 23 appearances for co trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro scored a signature victory in 2016 when he took out the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Durendal, who is approaching half-a-million dollars in prizemoney, is bursting to break his Western Australian duck after going close in two feature races.
On New Year’s Eve he stormed home from the back half of the field and ran a half-length second to Potent Secret in the Summer Scorcher (1000m).
A fortnight later he was beaten a long-neck by Volkoff in the Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m), but was luckless after getting held up in the straight.
Durendal and King’s Troop, a three-quarter brother to outstanding sire Snitzel, give Gangemi a potent edge in the Scenic Blast Stakes.
King’s Troop, purchased from Arrowfield Stud in NSW, is highly rated after he ran second to star sprinter Spieth at Rosehill last May.
The four-year-old ran sixth in the Summer Scorcher and fourth in the Miss Andretti Stakes, but finished close up to the winners.
Durendal has drawn barrier eight in the Scenic Blast Stakes and will be in the hands of Jarrad Noske.
Peter Knuckey, who has won the race on three previous occasions, partners King’s Troop from barrier four.
“King’s Troop is a nice little horse who has been going well and he will be picking up a stakes race sooner than later,” Gangemi said on Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.
“But hopefully with the way that he has been going this looks to be Durendal’s race on Saturday.
“I think 1200m suits him third up and he has won six of 12 over 1200m.
“There is not as much speed in the race on Saturday and to date he has won all his races over east going forward and sitting in the first few.
“We might go forward with him on Saturday and keep him out of trouble as well.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli