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A shorter time between races could be the catalyst for Araldo Junior to bounce back from a below par effort at his most recent start.

Araldo Junior was a dominant winner over 2500m at Flemington two starts ago before finishing his unplaced effort in the Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m) at the same track last Saturday week.

The five-year-old will step out again on his home track in Saturday’s Bitalli Handicap (2500m) and trainer Mike Moroney says he won’t be surprised to see him bounce back.

“He was a little bit disappointing on face value last start but he hadn’t had a run for a month, to be fair to him,” Moroney said.

“I would expect that that run would improve him.

“It’s been a bit easier to keep his fitness levels up there for this distance with the races only being two weeks apart.”

Araldo Junior and Kapour share the second line of early markets at $4 with Bold Sniper the $3 favourite.

Araldo Junior is one of four runners for Moroney on the Flemington card including last-start Rivette Series Final winner Daniela Rosa.

Moroney will test rising seven-year-old Rhythm To Spare beyond 1600m for the first time in 20 months in Saturday’s Henry Bolte Handicap (1800m).

Last year’s Listed Kilmore Cup winner has been unplaced in his five starts this campaign but Moroney believes his recent fifth in the Listed Winter Championship Series Final (1600m) shows an improvement also indicates he may be looking for further.

“He’s been such a good miler that we haven’t had to go much further than a mile, but he did run fourth in a Queensland Derby and was second in a Grand Prix Stakes in Brisbane as a three-year-old,” Moroney said.

“That will be interesting to see. He might have just lost that little bit of zip that he had as a younger horse.”

Rhythm To Spare ran fourth in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes in November 2014, the last time he raced over 1800m.

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