Managing co-owner Darren Dance believes that Crackerjack King took plenty of benefit out of his run in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday and is confident that the imported galloper will reach peak fitness after his next race start.
Crackerjack King was purchased by Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock after he took out the Group 1 Premio Presidente Della Republlica (2018m) in Rome in 2012 and he performed fairly in two starts under the care of Marco Botti in England and the United States before he joined the stable of David Hayes.
The Shamardal entire arrived in Australia with a number of tendon issues that kept him away from racing for almost two years before he returned to racing in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on August 9.
Crackerjack King was outpaced in the early stages of the Aurie’s Star Handicap and finished at the tail of the field, but he produced an improved effort in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes on Saturday before tiring in the final stages of the race to finish eighth.
Dance told Racing Ahead that he was happy with the effort of Crackerjack King in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and he feels that the performance of the six-year-old could have been even better if he was not taken out of his comfort zone by front-running winner The Cleaner.
“David Hayes is pretty happy with him,” Dance said.
“That was his second run off a two year lay-off and he was certainly a lot more competitive this time than he was first time out.
“He looked a lot fitter, his manners were a lot better, but he was probably just a bit unlucky to be in a race with The Cleaner because he craves out such tough sectionals and with a horse that is a bit soft it is really not where you want to be in the race.
“He has a bit to go and I think that one more run will really bring him on and then he will be at the top of his game and ready to show us what he really can do.”
Crackerjack King is expected to have his next race start in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 20 before heading towards the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, but he has also been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) and Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).