A heavy racing schedule could end on an even more taxing note for reliable stayer Commanding Time.
Trainer Brendan McCarthy is planning a Moonee Valley start on Saturday and a Ballarat Cup run 24 hours later for the horse who has already this term shunned the spelling paddock.
After a string of two thirds and three runner-up performances rounding off a heavy 10-race campaign, the gelding was sent for a spell.
But he didn’t last long there. About three days.
Caulfield-based McCarthy quickly sensed that the five-year-old was restless, perhaps anxious to return and break his run of outs.
And so he lines up in a 2040m race at Moonee Valley on Saturday before a possible run in the Listed Ballarat Cup on Sunday.
McCarthy describes Commanding Time as an unlucky but consistently high-earning horse.
“He’s had 10 starts this preparation and he’s been in the money every single start,” McCarthy said.
While every trainer complains about bad luck, McCarthy could be right given that Commanding Time during his career has duelled with an Australian Oaks winner as well as the brother of champion sprinter Black Caviar.
“He showed a lot of ability early,” McCarthy said. “In his first start in a race he beat Absolutely, Mick Kent’s horse which subsequently won (last year’s) Oaks.
“Then two starts later he ran second to Black Caviar’s brother, Moshe, and we were unlucky not to win that night at Moonee Valley.”
But it is Commanding Time’s enthusiasm and resilience which impresses McCarthy.
“He’s had a lot of starts this time and I had decided to put him in the paddock and give him a break then bring him back next prep,” he said.
“So I put him in the paddock but he was feeling that well that after three or four days I brought him back in.
“I just liked the look of him. He was bucking and carrying on around the paddock. He wasn’t like a tired horse.”
And it will take an extreme situation, such as a wide draw and a hot field to deter him running the galloper in the $200,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Then the horse gets a rest, whether he wants one or not.