Fat Al will be having just the second race start of his career over 2000 metres in the 2014 Doomben Cup and Jeff O’Connor, the racing manager for Peter Moody, is hoping that the Al Maher gelding can show his best form when he steps up in trip in the Group 1 event on Saturday.
Fat Al joined the Moody stable at the start of his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and, aside from a strong win in the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo on March 15, has failed to show the form that saw him take out the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Al Maher gelding finished 12th in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29, was 15th in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and faded after leading in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 3.
O’Connor admits that Fat Al faces a tough assignment in the Doomben Cup this weekend, but the stable is hoping that the trip up to 2000 metres and a dry surface Doomben will suit the Group 1 winning gelding.
“It is probably a bit tricky,” O’Connor said.
“All prep we have just thought that he is still not the horse that his form suggests from a few seasons back and we haven’t tried to pump him up.
“He has been running ok and he looks like he does want the 2000 metres now and I went through his form and he only had the one run over it and it was a win.
“We will go there thinking that he can run a bit better race on top of the ground there; he hasn’t really been at home on the soft ground in his recent rounds.
“We will let him run along on the top of the ground tomorrow and see what he can do.”
Fat Al will be stepping up to 2000 metres for the first time since he won the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) during the 2012 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and will be partnered by leading Queensland jockey Chris Munce, who will be riding in the race for the 17th time, but is yet to taste success in the Group 1 event.
The Peter Moody-trained galloper is currently an extreme outsider in the 2014 Doomben Cup betting market at Ladbrokes Australia, at odds of $61, while stablemate Floria is available at a quote of $26 to score her maiden win at Group 1 level.