Adam Durrant is in Melbourne to overlook the preparations of Kia Ora Koutou ahead of the VRC Derby (2400m) at Flemington next week, but he will cast his eyes on another of his promising team at Ascot on Saturday.
Durrant will closely watch the performance of Illuminated who ventures to Ascot for the first time this campaign after waving Belmont goodbye with a dominant win at their final meeting of the season on October 10.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro found himself in the unfamiliar role of pacesetter but the longer the race went on the greater he extended his lead, winning by a whopping 5 ¼ lengths after being expertly rated by, William Pike.
Durrant said Illuminated, who is chasing a winning hat trick in the Muscular Dystrophy WA Handicap (1600m), has the potential to develop into a feature race horse.
“His last win was impressive and if he can reproduce that you would think he will be hard to beat,” said Durrant.
“If he can replicate that dominant performance you would be game to say he couldn’t be a summer carnival horse.
“He could knock off a Peters Stakes or something like that and sneak into the Railway Stakes or Kingston Town.
“He is one of those big gangly types who just keeps improving and hopefully he can keep coming on and go forward.”
Kia Ora Koutou arrived in Melbourne on Thursday and will be lodging at Leon and Troy Corstens’ Malua Racing stables at Flemington.
Durrant has labelled the Blackfriars gelding, who has yet to taste defeat in four career starts, as one of the best horses he has trained.
“If you saw him running around Flemington this morning (Thursday) you would think he has been here forever,” said Durrant.
“He was really bright and came off the tarmac like he had done it a hundred times.
“He is a real professional and you couldn’t ask a horse to do any better.”
Durrant will have Ora Dare running in the Northam Cup on Sunday and says the Oratorio gelding, resuming after a spell, might find the 1600m to short first-up.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli