Melbourne Cup winning jockey Brett Prebble is banking on the step up to the 2520m of the Listed $120,000 The Bart Cummings at Flemington tomorrow as the catalyst for imported stayer Sea Moon to turn his Australian form around.
The highly rated former English galloper has failed to shine at his two local starts over unsuitable distances and the six year old had some legitimate excuses as well.
Prebble hops on Sea Moon for the first time under race conditions but said that the Lloyd Williams owned stallion gave him a great feel in two exhibition gallops prior to his first Australian start.
“The 2500 is really going to be the big key thing for him in showing his ability,” Prebble told AAP.
“He’s obviously got a very big engine and he’s a high-class horse.”
“We haven’t had the privilege of seeing him perform in a race like that yet, but now he’s at a distance that’s suitable.
“The 2500 metres is a plus so I’m looking forward to getting on him and I’d like everyone to see him if he lets go and shows that true form.”
Sea Moon, with Craig Williams aboard, bungled the start at his first run for the Robert Hickmott stable and was always well back when twelfth to Foreteller in the Group 1 $350,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 7.
Then he had no hope of making up any ground in a slowly run race when thirteenth to It’s A Dundeel and Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21.
Prebble is hoping Sea Moon can produce the form that saw him win the Group 2 £200,000 Hardwicke Stakes (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in June 2012 and lift his chances going towards the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
“He’s got to show his form now. I think the boss will be very disappointed with the horse if he doesn’t show his true form on the weekend,” Prebble said.
Bookmakers are certain that Sea Moon will be returning to the winner’s list and have posted the import the $2.60 favourite for The Bart Cummings with the nearest horse in the betting, the Ciaron Maher trained Moudre, at $7 and Araldo at $8.
Stablemate Tanby ($11), who won this race last year, is also struggling to regain his best form after finishing well down the track at two runs this time in and will also appreciate the step up in distance.
The Galileo seven year old finished twelfth to Ibicenco in the Listed $120,000 Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 31 before running tenth to Mr O’Ceirin in the Group 3 $150,000 D’Urban Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 21.
Sea Moon is currently listed as a $17 chance in the Melbourne Cup market order which sees the Darren Weir trained Puissance De Lune the $7 favourite one point ahead of last year’s runner up Fiorente at $8.