A summer surge in form could be on the doorstep for the Michael Moroney-trained Hang Man when the nine-year-old gelding lines up in the Marlene Rogers Handicap over 2000 metres at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Benchmark 100 event – an unusual type of race on the Melbourne scene – presents the chance for Hang Man to claim his first win since the Group 3 Easter Cup over the same track and distance in April.
Coming off tenth placing in the field of 11 in the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on 26 December, Moroney concedes that there were excuses.
“He’s been out of form but I think he’s ready to go, hopefully,” Moroney said.
“He’s going well on the track at home but just hasn’t been racing any good.
“I thought he went better last start and the rider might have gone a bit too soon on him which is something that you can’t do with this horse.
“He hasn’t got a half-mile run in him so there was a bit of merit in his last start.”
“He could improve sharply with a race under his belt and he’s a good horse on his day,” Moroney adds.
“We do a few different things with him now that he’s getting on in age but he hasn’t given us any signs that he’s turned that corner and he looks great on the track.
Hang Man’s form on rain affected ground is the bigger query with rain forecast in Melbourne on Friday.
“A little bit of give in the ground won’t worry him but if it gets too wet we won’t run.
“Fingers crossed though he’ll get back in form.”
Jye McNeil leads Melbourne’s jockey premiership and will be aboard for the first time since last February when Hang Man placed over the 2000 metre trip at Caulfield.