Horse trainer Darren Weir.
Horse trainer Darren Weir. JULIAN SMITH

Trainer eyeing his race options after weekend four-peat

AFTER a standard big day out at Moonee Valley on Saturday, mercurial Darren Weir is scanning the map for options.

Weir won four races, a number that was once a milestone but now commonplace for a trainer hurtling towards his fourth straight Melbourne trainers' title.

It was a mixed bag of well-placed and genuinely promising Weir winners.

Gratwick scored an all-the-way win in the first race, while winning machine Burning Front will continue to chase Victorian Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme bonus races in Victoria.

Saturday's win was Burning Front's 13th. His stake money has now passed $700,000 and a large chunk of it has come from VOBIS breeder bonuses.

More remarkable than Burning Front's stake haul is his heart. The humbly bred six-year-old raced on 21 occasions last campaign and was as competitive at the end of it as he was at the start.

"He's been a great horse - he's a great racehorse," Weir said of the odds-on winner of the VOBIS Gold Star (1500m).

The set weights and penalties of the race made him a good thing, according to jockey Brad Rawiller, who took Burning Front to the front and won easily.

"He's a beautiful horse to ride like that. He should have had 10kg more than the rest of them but he had 60kg and you still have to do it," he said.

Weir has interstate ambitions for impressive winners Zasorceress (Schweppes Lemonade Handicap) and import Big Duke, who overcame trouble to score in the Schweppes Sparkling Handicap and is now part of Weir's Tasmanian summer carnival squad.

Stable newcomer Zasorceress is bound for a listed race in Adelaide after a weaving win over 1600m and Weir has the Hobart and Launceston cups in his sights with super-impressive Big Duke, whose flashing win over 2040m convinced Weir he was capable of winning in Tassie.

"It was a good win - he got (jockey) Ben (Allen) out of a bit of trouble," he said, adding Big Duke would get better as the trips got longer.

Allen said he'd "stuffed another one up", referring to an earlier defeat on Saturday, after runner-up Cool Chap appeared to steal a winning break on him.

"But in the end he showed just how classy he is," Allen said.


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