Trainer Brendan McCarthy is convinced Divine Mr Artie has improved since being beaten as favourite in the Standish Handicap and is upbeat about his chances to bounce back in his next stakes test.
Divine Mr Artie won a benchmark sprint first-up at Flemington last month before finishing fifth as the $2.70 favourite in the Group Three Standish (1200m) at the same track on January 1.
He is set to run in Saturday’s Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Weights had to be raised for the Standish Handicap which meant all runners in the race carried 58kg.
McCarthy believes meeting some of his rivals poorly under that weight scale and the speed of the race in the Standish played against the gelding but he is looking forward to getting him to 1400m on Saturday.
“I reckon he’s improved considerably since the Standish,” McCarthy said.
“I wasn’t as happy with him between his first run and his second run but since he had that run the other day he’s really come ahead.
“I was even tempted to back him up on Saturday (at Caulfield) because he had done that well.
“I’m very happy with him and he’ll go in on the right weight scale in the Chester Manifold rather than meeting them on equal weights like he had to the other day.
“He was only beaten 1.2 lengths and then the way the race was run as well, with no real pace, didn’t really suit him either.
“We’ve got our positives going to our next run.”
Divine Mr Artie will be chasing his first stakes success in the Chester Manifold, with the Standish Handicap the first time he had raced in a black-type event.