Japanese import Danon Liberty is tuned up to have his first start on Australian soil in the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.

Voodoo Lad, above, will be one of trainer Darren Weir's runners in the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Voodoo Lad, above, will be one of trainer Darren Weir’s runners in the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

The Darren Weir trained Danon Liberty had his final hit out in preparation for the Stradbroke Handicap with stablemate’s Voodoo Lad, Peaceful State and Nature Strip in an 800m jump out at Horsham on Monday.

Voodoo Lad and Peaceful State are a chance to face off again with Danon Liberty in the Stradbroke Handicap and even though Weir’s number one man Jarrod McLean maintains that the Japanese import is ready to tackle the Group 1 Handicap first up on the weekend, he is certain that whatever he does this week, he will improve on in the Spring.

“He’s just an outstanding horse,” McLean told AAP.

“Danon Liberty, he has that imposing look, the way he struts around, and he’s a well-credentialed horse.

“To be kicking off in a Stradbroke though, it’s not going to be easy, but he’s done the work and he’s certainly going well enough to be there.”

“He’s fitted into the system so well and everything he has done has pleased us.”

“Whatever he does, he is going to come back and be ­better for a race like the Rupert Clarke Stakes, or even a ­Toorak Handicap.”

Weir has had plenty of success with horses from Japan with Tosen Stardom and Brave Smash both finding their way to the Group 1 winner’s stall under the guidance of the premiership winning trainer.

Tosen Stardom was one of the stars of the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival with wins in the Group 1 $500,000 United Petroleum Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield and in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington while Brave Smash saluted in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.

Danon Liberty is the winner of three of his twenty-seven race starts in Japan and will be having his first start since finishing eighth in the Rigel Stakes over 1600m at Hanshin in Japan on December 9, 2017.

Pre-post betting for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au has Danon Liberty marked at $8.50 while Peaceful State is at $18 and Voodoo Lad at $21.

Early betting for the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Champagne Cuddles, $5.50 Impending, $$6.50 Care To Think, $7.50 Perast, $8.50 Danon Liberty, $12 Invincible Gem, $14 Osburne Bulls, Santa Anna Lane, $16 Spieth, $18 Peaceful State, $21 Shillelagh, Voodoo Lad, $26 Crack Me Up, $31 Foxplay, Super Cash, The Monstar, $34 Burning Passion, Endless Passion, $41 or better the rest.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.