Rhythm To Spare has been included in the 2014 Eclipse Stakes field and trainer Mike Moroney is confident that the Pins gelding will have no issues running out a strong 1800 metres in the Group 3 event on Saturday.
Rhythm To Spare was set for a Queensland Derby campaign as a three-year-old and finished second in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben and fourth in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm, but he has been restricted to race starts over a mile in the last 18 months.
Moroney admits that it has been a long time since Rhythm To Spare stepped up to 1800 metres, but he believes that step-up in trip will not be a problem for the five-year-old in the Eclipse Stakes this weekend.
“I don’t think so,” Moroney said.
“He was placed second in a Rough Habit Plate as a three-year-old behind Hawkspur and ran fourth in a Queensland Derby.
“We haven’t really tried him past a mile since then for one reason or another, but he is out of a Zabeel mare by Pins, so you would expect he would get that trip alright.”
Rhythm To Spare was well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday after he stormed home late to finish fifth in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11, but the gelding was never able to get into the race and he was found to be lame after the race.
Moroney said that Rhythm To Spare had failed to handle the firm Flemington track on Saturday, but had recovered well from the tough run and revealed that the Group 3 winner would wear half bar plates in the Eclipse Stakes.
“He has come through ok,” Moroney said.
“He was pulled up a little bit gingerly and he was little bit sore to trot, but it was very firm ground and we are going to have half-bar plates on him, which he works a lot in and we have sort of just been plated him up race day, but we are the stage now with his heels that we will just race him in those half-bars.”
Rhythm To Spare will have to perform at his best to be any chance of returning to winning form in the Eclipse Stakes after Queensland Derby winner Sonntag, Gai Waterhouse-trained Pheidon, last start winner Tristram’s Sun and Queensland stayer The Inventor were all included in the final field.