Co-trainer John Hawkes is confident that Top Me Up can bounce back to his best form when he contests the 2015 Vain Stakes at Caulfield tomorrow.
Top Me Up stamped himself as a horse to follow when he finished second in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Sandown on January 26 and fourth in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14, but he was slightly disappointing when he returned to racing with a fourth place finish in the 1Print Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 1.
Hawkes admitted that the stable were disappointed with the first-up performance of Top Me Up, but he revealed that the Exceed And Excel gelding may have choked on his tongue during the race and he told Racing Ahead that the three-year-old will wear a tongue tie in the 2015 Vain Stakes to avoid a repeat of the problem.
“He was a little bit disappointing on the day, but we think that he swallowed his tongue,” Hawkes said.
“He just didn’t perform, so we put a tongue tie and a crossover on him and hopefully that will fix that problem.
“His run was still very good, but just slightly disappointing on the day.
“We expect him to run really well tomorrow and he should be in the mix.”
Top Me Up took up the running in the 1Print Handicap and he has shown plenty of tactical speed during his racing career to date, but Hawkes said that there is no guarantee the gelding will take up the running in the early stages of the Vain Stakes and he is happy to leave the tactics up to jockey Dwayne Dunn.
“He can, but it depends on how the race pans out,” Hawkes said when asked if Top Me Up would lead the Vain Stakes.
“There is nothing wrong with leading, but if they go hard he can take a sit.
“Those sort of things are really jockey orientated and it is all about tempo.
“If they are going at a nice even clip it is fine, but if they are running through the bridle and running hard you can’t win at any level.
“If he doesn’t lead he will be on the speed.”
Top Me Up is currently available at 2015 Vain Stakes odds of $10 and he is on the sixth line of betting behind Ragazzao Del Corsa ($3.40), Gold Symphony ($4.50), Demonstrate ($5.50), Braccenby ($8) and Stoker ($8.50).