Trainer Stephen Brown will give track specialist Sea Lord a chance to defend his crown in the Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night before he sends him off to the paddock for a well-deserved break.
Sea Lord is a winner four times from five attempts over the Moonee Valley 1200m but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since taking out last year’s Australia Stakes from Pinwheel and Outlandish Lad.
“He’d probably been in work in the stable for too long which can be pretty hard mentally, especially for a highly strung horse like him,” Brown told Racing Victoria News.
Sea Lord has been in work since last Winter and Brown has tried to freshen up the six year old who kicked off this current campaign with a fourth in a 1200m Handicap at Moonee Valley on June 15.
Brown gave Sea Lord some time away from the stable routine after he finished seventh to Flamberge in the Group 3 $150,000 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day and the Flemington trainer said that he has come back a happier horse.
“He’s been up to the water walker and has come back really nicely, I’m really happy with him,” Brown said.
“All I’m trying to do is keep him happy. We know he can gallop, we know Moonee Valley is his favourite track and we know that he won the race last year.”
Stephen Baster will again be aboard Sea Lord after riding the Street Cry gelding at his last two starts and is certain to give him a good run from barrier six.
In contrast to Sea Lord’s winning performances at Moonee Valley, race favourite Moment Of Change is yet to win on the StrathAyr track and will have to jump from the outside of the ten horses field.
Linda Meech will be re-united with Moment Of Change who also has been out of the winner’s circle for over twelve months, but continues to perform well at Group 1 level.
The Peter Moody trained sprinter hasn’t been in the number one spot since winning the 2012 Group 1 $400,000 Clamms Seafood Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
But he has been competing at the highest level and has been placed on four occasions in Group 1 company, including a last start nose second to Buffering in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 23.