Mongolian Khan will return to the races in the 2015 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and co-trainer Andrew Forsman admits that the Melbourne Cup contender will require at least two race starts before he reaches peak fitness.
Mongolian Khan was sent to the spelling paddock after he completed the Trans-Tasman Derby double with a win in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 6, but he showed that he was ready for a return to racing with two fourth place finishes in barrier trials at Ruakaka on August 1 and Taupo on August 19.
Forsman told Racing Ahead that the stable is thrilled with the condition of Mongolian Khan, but they are not expecting a great deal from him in the Makybe Diva Stakes and are just hopeful that he can hit the line in the Group 1 event this weekend.
“We are really happy,” Forsman said.
“The reports back have been good, Murray went over last week and saw him and he said that the piece of work he saw him do was up with the best that he has done.
“It is going to have to be because he is up against the older horses now, but everybody is happy.
“He has had plenty of work and he has a good base behind him, but there is nothing like race day fitness and he will take two or three runs before he is really hitting his straps.
“It is always tricky and he is not really a fresh-up mile sort of horse, but Opie knows him as good as anybody and as long as Opie is happy with him and he is hitting the line well enough we will be happy.”
The exact path that Mongolian Khan will follow during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival is yet to be determined, but Forsman indicated that the Australian Derby winner will likely have his next race start in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 26 and contest a race like the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 before he runs in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 24.
“It will just be normal weight-for-age type races and there are lots of good options,” Forsman said.
“He will definitely be second-up into the Underwood and then there are a few options leading into the Caulfield Cup there.
“It will be weight-for-age until he gets to the Caulfield Cup, I would say.
“2400 and beyond is where he is going to come into his own and while a Cox Plate may be tempting we will just have to see how he is measuring up at weight-for-age.”
Mongolian Khan is currently available at 2015 Makybe Diva Stakes odds of $16 with Ladbrokes, while Boban ($4.40) has opened as a narrow favourite from Fawkner ($6), Alpine Eagle ($7) and Weary ($8.50).