After an injury enforced layoff that saw the Darren Weir-trained Puissance De Lune miss the autumn, the horse returns to racing on Saturday shooting for back-to-to back wins in the $200,000 Group 2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).
Shamardal grey Puissance De Lune won the PB Lawrence Stakes 12 months ago kicking off their Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign, lots of hype surrounding the one time Melbourne Cup favourite’s return.
Puissance De Lune entered calculations for the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) the previous season with an eight length Bendigo Cup win, a five length effort in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and then a narrow victory in the Blamey Stakes that March.
They may have fired first-up, but in the end didn’t make it to Cup Day.
Instead the horse posted two close seconds at elite level in the Makybe Diva Stakes and Turnbull Stakes on way to the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in October where Puissance De Lune was injured during their 12th place finish behind Shamus Award.
Saturday is a fresh start then for the now six-year-old who is again in the mix for all the spring majors and who is the early Ladbrokes favourite to go back-to-back in the Lawrence Stakes.
It is sure to be a tight market for the weight-for-age feature this weekend too with plenty of other resuming stars with genuine claims.
Included in that category is Star Rolling in the outside barrier 11 for their resuming run.
Prepared by Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison the Casino Prince five-year-old races for the first time since they finished last behind Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington back on March 8.
The promising stayer however impressed Morgan with a nice workout earlier this week earning a PB Lawrence acceptance with the trainer saying the horse had plenty of upside heading towards a possible start in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
Also well liked in PB Lawrence Stakes markets are sure to be the likes of dual Group 1 winner Foreteller and Zamorar.
The Chris Waller-trained Foreteller is drawn in barrier seven with Hugh Bowman aboard, a nice pick-up for the jockey after his mount El Roca was not accepted for the $120,000 Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) due to a virus.
Zamorar then has the inside running from gate one, apprentice hoop Katelyn Mallyon partnering with the David Bourne-trained Seymour galloper.
Mallyon stays on after riding the Scandal Keeper six-year-old for both of their starts this time in, a first-up Flemington win followed by a close third to Tiger Tees in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at the same track just last Saturday.
Peter Moody meanwhile is dually represented in the race having accepted for both his 2012 Queensland Derby winner Brambles who has been in poor form since returning to racing and better fancied stablemate Lidari.
Imported French horse Lidari was competitive during the early autumn including the Acclamation stallion’s Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) win at Flemington.
Two failed Sydney runs followed however, the latest of which was a 16th to Sacred Falls on a bog Randwick track for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), which the horse can improve on with a firmer track for the weekend to add to a top first-up record (6-3-1-0).
Of the stayers in the PB Lawrence Stakes field this year British import Spillway prepared by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig is the shortest priced in the early Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes paying $26, a quote that will firm with a win on the weekend.
Running first-up for the season like most of their rivals following an eye-catching two and a half length victory in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick in late April, Spillway will be ridden by Damien Oliver.