Trainer Ciaron Maher is confident that Akavoroun can return to his best form when he contests the 2015 Sandown Stakes tomorrow afternoon.
Akavoroun started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival with a fast-finishing second in the Listed The Sofitel (1400m) at Flemington on September 12 and he had no luck in running when ninth in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 25 and the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10.
The Lacryma Cristi gelding was well-backed in the lead-up to the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) at Sale on October 25, but jockey Noel Callow rode the six-year-old far too aggressively in the early stages of the race before he tied in the final stages of the race to finish seventh from Evangelist.
Maher was far from impressed with Callow’s ride in the Sale Cup, but he is confident that Akavoroun will be a genuine winning chance in the 2015 Sandown Stakes if he is given a quieter ride in the early stages of the race by Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne.
“It was a terrible ride, he just had no chance, so rule a line through that,” Maher told Racing Ahead.
“Racing back is his usual pattern, he’s drawn well and ee should sit behind a good speed.
“He does a fair bit of work out at Sandown and seems to let down well there so hopefully he can turn his luck around.
“She’s (Payne) got a good record on the horse and Michelle’s in a bit of form, so hopefully she can convey that to the horse.”
The Sandown Stakes betting market is currently dominated by Chris Waller-trained Good Project, but that could change dramatically after the Waller stable revealed that the four-year-old is no certainty to contest the race.
Good Project finished second behind Malaguerra on Melbourne Cup Day and he is available at Sandown Stakes odds of $2.90, but Waller could scratch the son of Not A Single Doubt and save him for the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot next Saturday.
Likely leader Charmed Harmony is currently on the second line of Sandown Stakes betting markets at a quote of $6 with Ladbrokes from Robert Smerdon-trained Mr Utopia ($8.50), the consistent Tashbeeh ($9) and Greg Eurrell-trained Hosting ($11), while Akavoroun is priced at $12 to return to winning form in the Sandown Stakes.