Jim Conlan-trained Rekindled Interest will make his return to racing in the Listed Macleod Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Rekindled Interest has not been seen at the races since he finished at the tail of the field in the 2012 Cox Plate (2040m), with a knee problem keeping him out of the 2013 Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding was nominated for both the Macleod Stakes and Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), but Conlan confirmed this morning that Rekindled Interest would contest the easier race this weekend.
The Mornington-based trainer told RSN that Rekindled Interest was still battling a few minor injuries but said that he was happy with how the six-year-old had performed in trackwork since returning from the spelling paddock.
“He has got a lot of niggling injuries; nothing that will stop him but he has a lot of these injuries that he has to deal with at the moment,” Conlan said.
“We gave him a good long spell and did a bit of surgery on his knees to clean them up a bit.
“He has come back and is as sound as he has ever been.
“I took him to the Valley a couple of weeks ago and he worked brilliantly there.
“I worked him here on Saturday with Clear For Action and it was just terrific work.”
Rekindled Interest is chasing his first race victory in two years, with his last win coming in the 2011 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley, and although Conlan expects him to run well this weekend he is already looking ahead to some of the bigger races during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
“1200 is short of his best but I expect him to run really well and two weeks later we will go to the Epsom,” Conlan said.
“If he performs well in the Epsom, three weeks after that is the Cox Plate and I know he is probably getting a bit old but he loves the Valley.
“It was only a couple of starts ago that he ran third in the Dato, beaten by Green Moon and Happy Trials, and behind him were some really good weight-for-age horses.
“If we can get him back to that form, we will probably be having another crack.
“I think he is going every bit as good as when he ran third in the Cox Plate.”
Conlan could have a strong hand in the 2013 edition of the Cox Plate, with Australian Guineas winner Ferlax also on track to contest the race.