Stingray was competitive at Group level during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but trainer John Moloney is focused on getting the Kaphero colt back in winning form when he returns to racing in the autumn.
Stingray started his spring preparation with a second place finish in the Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 2 and he finished an lucky second when he made his debut at Group level in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 16.
The three-year-old continued to produce credible performances in races like the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m), but did not appear to run out a strong 1600 metres in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and beat home just a single runner.
Moloney told Racing Ahead that he was happy with the form of Stingray during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he said that he is desperate to get the colt back into winning form and at this stage does not plan on running him in any of the major races for three-year-olds during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing.
“I am just going to take him on a steady trip and hopefully put him back to winning form one way or the other,” Moloney said.
“I won’t be aiming him too high too soon; we missed out on winning a race last preparation and we need to get him back in winning form and then progress upwards.
“He ran great in all of those races especially the Danehill where he was close up.
“Brazen Beau was right beside him at the end of that race and he of cause went on to win the Group 1.
“That says he is not too far off the better ones, but we certainly need to find that nice form heading into any of those particular races.”
“If he came up strong and smart we may aim higher during the Melbourne prep, but I would say it is more likely he is a horse to target over in Adelaide once their carnival starts.”
While Moloney plans to sidestep the highest level of racing with Stingray, he is still happy with the condition of the horse and believes that the Vain Stakes placegetter took plenty of benefit out of his stint in the spelling paddock.
“He is coming on well,” Moloney said.
“He has had a little jump out here at Caulfield and he seems to be shaping up pretty good.
“He has shown a bit more improvement; he is not a big horse, but he is certainly a nice big horse.
“Mentally he has always been pretty good, but he just copes with anything that has been given to him.”
Moloney is chasing his first win at Group level since he took out the 2009 edition of the Emancipation Stakes with Amberino.