Jim Conlan welcomes Rekindled Interest back to the races at Moonee Valley on Saturday but the trainer has decided to bypass the meeting with Group One winner Ferlax.
Rekindled Interest is set to make his return in a 1200m Listed race on Saturday but Ferlax is missing from the nominations for the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m).
“I’ve decided with Ferlax that we’re going to go to the Rupert Clarke Stakes next. He’ll still get into the handicaps well, it’s worth $100,000 more (than the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes) and it would be good for his stallion profile,” Conlan said.
After the Group One Rupert Clarke (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday week, Ferlax will press on to the Group One Toorak Handicap (1600m).
“Then two weeks after the Toorak there’s the Cox Plate or three weeks after is the Mackinnon Stakes,” Conlan said.
“I think that’s probably a better program for him.”
Ferlax won the Australian Guineas in the autumn and delighted Conlan with his second-up performance to finish second to the unbeaten Atlantic Jewel in the Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 31.
“It was a terrific run and he’s come through it so well, it’s amazing,” Conlan said.
“He’s jumping out of his skin.”
Rekindled Interest is also showing the trainer good signs as he embarks on another campaign that is hoped will lead to a third shot at winning the Cox Plate.
The gelding has been off the scene since last year’s Cox Plate, in which he finished last, and has undergone knee surgery and a minor throat operation since.
“Both were minor but they were there all the time and getting to him,” Conlan said.
“He hasn’t been under race conditions since but I feel fairly confident that he’s come out of it very successfully. I don’t think there’s any issues with him now.”
Conlan says he will be surprised if Rekindled Interest wins over 1200m with 61kg first-up but concedes the gelding loves Moonee Valley and is going well.
“I’d still think he’ll run a race and then he’ll go three weeks after that to the Epsom,” he said.
Rekindled Interest was placed in the 2011 Cox Plate and Conlan is keen to give him another go at the weight-for-age showpiece.
“Hopefully we’re back there and having another crack,” he said.