2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune will face eight rivals when he resumes in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Darren Weir-trained stayer has not been seen at the races since dead-heating the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) during his brief autumn campaign but impressed jockey Glen Boss with a strong barrier trial performance at Ballarat last Saturday.
The Melbourne Cup is the ultimate goal for the son of Shamardal but connections are hopeful that he will be competitive at Group 1 weight-for-level and will use the Cox Plate (2040m) as his lead-up run for ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Boss is particularly confident that Puissance De Lune can be a Cox Plate contender and compared the horse to his previous Cox Plate winners Makybe Diva, So You Think and Ocean Park.
“He’s a better horse than Ocean Park, don’t worry about that,” Boss told News Limited.
“Ocean Park was the right horse at the right time, but this bloke is the real deal.
“I’m not saying he’s another So You Think, or as good as the mare, but he’s a seriously classy horse.
“I’ve got no doubt about him being a top weight-for-age horse and I’ve got no real doubt about running two miles in the Melbourne Cup.”
Puissance De Lune’s stiffest competition this Saturday is set to come from last year’s P.B. Lawrence Stakes winner Second Effort who heads into the race in excellent form.
The Mossman gelding resumed with an unlucky third in the Listed John Monash Stakes (1100m) before claiming victory in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at the final Melbourne metropolitan meeting of the 2012/2013 racing season.
Second Effort will go into the race with a clear fitness edge over Puissance De Lune and his chances will improve even more if reports of a wet track at Caulfield on Saturday prove to be correct.
Another interesting runner is Mick Price-trained Ajeeb who will be making his open racing debut.
The four-year-old has won his past two starts since resuming from a spell and Price has thrown him in the deep end at weight-for-age level to see if he can compete with the top horses during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
2012 JRA Cup winner Bianmick and Peter Moody-trained High Esteem are both set to resume in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes while Launay, Under The Eiffel, Under The Sun and Pago Rock will also compete.