Trainer Jason Coyle is confident that a drop in weight can help Scream Machine return to his best form in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) on the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday.
Scream Machine finished an impressive third in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) and was one of several hard luck stories when ninth behind Boban in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but was unable to record the first race win of his campaign against weaker opposition in the Goulburn Cup (1600m) on November 24.
Coyle told Racing Ahead that he was disappointed with the performance of Scream Machine when carrying 59kg in the country cup but is confident that he is a winning chance with just 54kg on his back in the Villiers Stakes.
“He has come through terrific but I was a little bit disappointed to be honest,” Coyle said.
“I thought that he was the class horse in the race and he probably did a couple of things wrong.
“His effort was good and he didn’t finish too far off them.
“Four weeks off into that, I thought would have him cherry ripe for Saturday.
“I think of one of the keys was that in the Goulburn Cup he carried 59kg but we will go back down in the weights.
“I’ve always said that he would be able to win a nice mile race at some stage of his career, especially down in the weights, and that is what we have got on Saturday.”
The Villiers Stakes meeting has been transferred from the course proper at Randwick to the inner Kensington track and the Group 2 event will now be run over 1550 metres with a capacity field of just 14 runners.
Coyle said that he has been delighted with the Kensington surface in the past month but believes that the smaller field does not help the chances of Scream Machine, who has previously performed well in big field handicaps.
“It’s not so much switching back to the actual track because I think that the surface is terrific and they have done a fantastic job,” Coyle said.
“My biggest issue is the fact that we had the possibility of running 18 or 20 runners on the course proper, which we don’t now and that has a massive impact on the tempo of the race.
“Field sizes can generate tempo and he appreciates tempo so we are going to have a good look at the field and see how it comes out this morning.”
Coyle is chasing his first victory at Group 2 level since he won the 2009 Warwick Stakes (1400m) with Trusting.