Adelaide trainer Richard Jolly is hoping a return to Moonee Valley will prompt a return to form with the seven-year-old gelding Alcohol.
Alcohol has a good record at Moonee Valley with two wins over 1600m while his only defeat at the track was a third in a benchmark-96 in December 2014 over 2040m.
He returns to Melbourne racing in Saturday’s Vital Healthcare Property Trust Handicap (2040m) for the first time since winning at the corresponding meeting a year ago.
He hasn’t figured in the finish in three starts in Adelaide this campaign after an eight-month absence and Jolly admits Alcohol’s form hasn’t been as good this time as before previous trips to Melbourne.
“He’s very capable on his day and has probably just needed a few runs under his belt to get him where he’s at,” Jolly said.
“If he can reproduce that old form he’s going to be hard to beat.
“There’s nothing wrong with him, but his form going into this probably wasn’t as good as times before when we’ve come over.”
Jolly said Alcohol had a few problems after he won at Moonee Valley last winter.
“It was nothing serious, but he needed three months off and he’s a horse that you can’t race over summer. He jars up on hard tracks,” Jolly said.
“That’s basically the reason why he had the best part of eight months off the scene.”
The race has opened up with the scratching of the Darren Weir-trained Raw Impulse, who had been the odds-on favourite, because of an elevated temperature.
“You don’t wish that on other horses, but certainly it makes it a bit easier,” Jolly said.
Alcohol is at $8.50 with in-form Turnitaround the $2.40 favourite ahead of Longeron at $2.60.