Trainer Jim Conlan is relying on Rekindled Interest’s liking of the tricky Moonee Valley circuit to get him back on track for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.
Conlan is prepared to forgive Rekindled Interest for his below par performance first up when tenth to Sincero in the Group 2 $220,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks ago.
But Rekindled Interest, who is the winner of two races at Moonee Valley, will have to bounce back to his best in the Group 2 $300,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) tomorrow.
“The preparation has been built around two races, the Dato and the Cox Plate, and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a very big race,” Conlan said.
“His run in the Memsie was okay but there was nothing to really get excited about.”
Conlan found excuses for Rekindled Interest at Caulfield and the stewards’ report verifies that Steven Arnold was held up behind horses in the straight and was unable to fully test him over the concluding stages.
“At a fairly important stage, as far as the horse was concerned, he didn’t get clear running and so Steven sat up on him,” Conlan said.
“I’d like to have got a slightly harder run out of him than we did. But he had a gallop on Tuesday and he worked well and has come through it well.”
Rekindled Interest’s liking for the Moonee Valley surface should see him back to his best and head to the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbulll Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6 as his final lead up for the Cox Plate.
“The surface really suits him, he doesn’t have any major soundness issues but he enjoys the surface, and he uses the camber of the track to his advantage,” Conlan said.
“Off the top of the hill where you swing into the straight he lets go off that and he seems to put a couple of lengths into the race at that point.”
“Ultimately I’d like him to win and I am sure after his next start he will be ready for the Cox Plate. It’s six weeks into the Cox Plate and it is three weeks into the Turnbull so it is a nice gap.”
The Redoute’s Choice gelding established himself as a top weight for age performer with a third to Pinker Pinker in last year’s Cox Plate followed by a third to Glass Harmonium in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 3.
Bookmakers also expects a sharp improvement from the five year old and have installed him the $3.60 favourite just ahead of Green Moon at $3.80.
South Australian trained Happy Trails is next in the betting at $7 with John Sadler’s Linton at $8.
Green Moon was also mentioned in the stewards’ report being held up on the home turn before running home to finish fifth in the Memsie.