The Melbourne spring carnival in 2010 unveiled plenty of stars with huge expectations now on them for a repeat performance in 2011.
With So You Think now racing overseas in England and Americain at home in France for the time being, Maluckyday is the one bearing the brunt of the pressure.
His rise throughout 2010 was nothing short of incredible as he placed in all of his starts.
Among those nine runs he picked up five wins as well and he went into the Melbourne Cup on a three race winning streak.
Despite this he was well and truly overshadowed by the big guns pre race and there weren’t too many willing to give him a chance.
He rose to the occasion though, only Americain getting home ahead of him across the two miles.
Given it was his first attempt and he was giving away at leats a year of maturity it was no surprise to see Maluckyday listed as the early favourite for the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
His autumn return though may cast a bit of doubt as he struggled to find the form of last year.
He ran first up in the Chipping Norton Stakes for a fourth, second up in the Ranvet Stakes for a fourth and finally another unplaced run in The BMW.
They were results his supporters aren’t used to but that hasn’t killed off too much of the face for the spring.
Trainer John Hawkes also wasn’t deterred by his Autumn campaign and with the Melbourne Cup always being the number one mission he’s confident Maluckyday will be back to his winning best.
“He’s coming along nicely but won’t be ready to race until the end of next month,” Hawkes said.
“We’ve got one aim (Melbourne Cup) with him this spring.”
In fact Hawkes says having only the three runs earlier in the year will help him out in Melbourne and he’ll come in fresher than ever.
They are yet to decide on an exact race program, last year they race din Sydney before coming down for The Lexus and the Melbourne Cup.
“I’m not too worried about his program just yet because you have to take into account the weather, the state of the tracks, all those things,” he said.
“He will have to run in weight-for-age races and we know he handles the Melbourne way of going so we know we can send him down there when it suits us.”
If Maluckyday is to come back and win the 2011 Melbourne Cup he’ll be only the fifth horse in history to avenge a second place the very next year.
The Grafter was the first to do it, he was beaten by his full brother Gaulua in 1897 but in 1898 he came back an exacted his revenge.
The very next year saw the immortal Carbine finish as the bridesmaid but in 1890 he won the Melbourne Cup, setting a weight record in the process with a huge 65.5kgs.
Gold In Black repeated the effort in1977 after coming so close 12 months earlier.
The most recent to pull it off was Empire Rose, the 1988 Melbourne Cup Champion.
While the 2011 Melbourne Cup is still a while off the Hawkes team has a couple of more pressing issues with runners this weekend at Warwick Farm.
Inventive will run in the Rosebud Preview while Dunrossil contests the ATC Foundation Membership Handicap.
It will be the first time punters get a taste of Inventive which was a $200,000 Magic Millions buy as a yearling.
After two decent barrier trial hit outs Hawkes says he’s ready to go.
“He’s a nice horse but I just hope the track isn’t too wet,” Hawkes said.