He may not be fully wound up for his return but trainer John Moloney is expecting a forward run from Stingray at Moonee Valley.
The three-year-old makes his reappearnce off a 15 week break in the Schweppes Handicap (1000m), a benchmark 70 race on Saturday.
It’s a big drop in grade for the son of Kaphero who last start contested the Group One Caulfield Guineas in October and whose last five races have been in `black type’ company.
Moloney said Stingray was still short of his peak after spending five weeks in the paddock following the Caulfield Guineas but does expect a forward race.
“Horses that have some ability you expect them to be able to do something and you don’t expect them to be running down the track,” Moloney said.
“I would expect him to be in the top three at the finish.”
While confident Stingray has come back in good order, he also realises the colt will have his work cut out in defeating fellow Caulfield-trained galloper Royal Snitzel.
The Mick Price-trained filly won her first two starts before finishing second in Group Three company at Caulfield in August.
“She may be a bit quick for him but he should still be showing up at the end,” Moloney said.
While Stingray was contesting Group races during the spring, Moloney said he was in no rush to plan a program for the autumn.
He said he wants to see how Stingray performs first-up and work out a program after that.
Stingray is one of three runners Moloney has engaged at Moonee Valley on Saturday with Seattleite in the iPrint Handicap and Peninsula Dane in the Alternate Railway Handicap.
Moloney said Seattleite is on the back-up after having little luck at Flemington last week while Peninsula Dane will be favoured from a wide draw in her race.