Assessing the Cox Plate prospects of third favourite Rekindled Interest is a relatively straightforward process, according to his jockey Dwayne Dunn.
“What he does on the track before a race, he reproduces on the day,” Dunn said.
The good news for his supporters is that on Tuesday at Moonee Valley, Rekindled Interest produced one of his best gallops ever.
Dunn said the work easily surpassed his lead-up gallop to the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at the Valley last month.
“That was the race that really made him,” Dunn said.
“He needed to step up, and he did.
“With that in the back of our mind, we have a bit of confidence.”
In contrast, Rekindled Interest put in a lacklustre effort in training before the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington last start and ran accordingly, finishing fifth to December Draw.
Rekindled Interest is on the third line of betting for Saturday’s $3 million Cox Plate (2040m) at $7.50 behind Helmet ($3.30) and Jimmy Choux ($4.50).
Rekindled Interest goes into the Cox Plate with Efficient as the only two horses in the race to have won over the course and distance, having claimed the AAMI Vase at the corresponding Moonee Valley meeting last year.
He further showed his liking for the track by winning the Dato Tan Chan Nam Stakes over 1600m.
“His question mark at the start of this season was weight-for-age,” Dunn said.
“But I think he jumped that hurdle in the Dato.
“He still needs to take the next step, but I think he’s as sound as we can get him and I think he’s going as good as he can go.”
In his sparkling gallop on Tuesday, Rekindled Interest emphasised his prospects by easily accounting for Jimmy Choux.
But the jockey isn’t dismissing the New Zealander who he believes may have choked down during the workout.
He also rates the $31 chance Pinker Pinker a strong prospect, largely on the strength of an unlucky second, with Dunn aboard, to King’s Rose in the Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley last month.
For all that, he regards the favourite Helmet as clearly the horse to beat following his outstanding Caulfield Guineas victory of two weeks ago when he led and maintained a breakneck speed throughout.
“I don’t think they’ll be trying that tactic again,” he said.
“But that win will have made them very confident.”