Rekindled Interest has been heavily backed to win the $3 million Cox Plate following an impressive track gallop in which he easily beat star New Zealander Jimmy Choux at Moonee Valley.
The Jim Conlan-trained Rekindled Interest, who will wear blinkers for the first time in the Cox Plate, wore the shades in the workout and beat Jimmy Choux by about three lengths.
The Redoute’s Choice four-year-old was the star worker of the 10 Cox Plate horses to gallop at Moonee Valley’s Breakfast with the Best trackwork session.
And later the gelding drew favourably in barrier three in the 14-horse field plus two emergencies.
A series of bets has his price in from $13 before acceptances on Tuesday to $10 third pick with TAB Sportsbet which now has three-year-old Helmet $3.40 favourite ahead of Jimmy Choux who has eased from $3.40 to $3.60.
Conlan brought a stablemate to the Valley to use as a pacemaker for the Cox Plate pair but it didn’t really work out as the horse only led the workout narrowly instead of getting out and putting on some pace.
But Conlan was delighted with his horse who is unbeaten in two starts at the Valley, in last year’s AAMI Vase over the 2040m Cox Plate trip and two starts back in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m), both at Group Two level.
“The preparation so far has just been perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing, right from day one he hasn’t put a foot wrong,” Conlan said.
“He came to today’s gallop five kilos heavier than he did when he went into the Aurie’s Star (first-up when second at Flemington) and that gallop will bring him back to that weight.
“He loves this track. He’s at his best here.”
Meanwhile, trainer Peter Snowden preferred to keep Helmet at Flemington where he had a solid hitout.
“We were happy to stay with that and his work was perfect. It was spot-on work,” he said of the last-start Caulfield Guineas winner.
“I’ve got to say his past two runs have been his most dominant and impressive wins.
“That’s set him in good stead for here because he’s come through this (Caulfield Guineas) run as good as he’s ever been in his life.
“Time will tell (regarding the Guineas form). He’s going against the older horses for the first time at 2040 metres for the first time.
“But he’s a three-time Group One winner. He showed just how good he is (in winning the Guineas) and he deserves his place in this field and I’m sure he’ll run well.”
Helmet drew barrier 11 which is outside the other speed in the race, Descarado (nine) and Glass Harmonium (four).
“The beauty about this bloke is that he doesn’t have to lead,” Snowden said.
“He’ll be handy but how far forward depends on the pace of the race.
“That light weight (49.5kg) is going to kick in somewhere and I hope it is the last three furlongs (600m).”