Imported stayer December Draw will begin his third Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
December Draw was one of the stories of the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival, progressing from midweek meetings at Flemington to win the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) before starting the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) as the shortest price favourite in the race in nearly forty years.
The son of Medecis finished at the tail of the field after suffering a leg injury during the race that kept him out of racing for almost eleven months.
The Mark Kavanagh-trained gelding return to racing with a disappointing performance in last year’s edition of the Makybe Diva Stakes but returned to his best form with third place finishes in both the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Turnbull Stakes before beating just a single horse home in the Caulfield Cup and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Kavanagh is not expecting much out of December Draw this preparation, and did not include the eight-year-old in the nominations for any of the major races during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but believes the veteran still has something to give at the highest level of racing.
“He’s old these days and he’s got a few grey hairs on his chin and his jowls,” Kavanagh told TVN.
“Mind you, there is still a bit of fire and determination in him yet.
“He’s worked pretty well coming into this and he’ll wear winkers on Saturday.”
Kavanagh revealed last month that December Draw would likely be kept to races between 1600 metres and 2000 metres this campaign – with the Underwood Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) all potential targets.
Kavanagh is chasing his second victory in the Makybe Diva Stakes after winning the race with Melbourne Cup winner Shocking in 2010.