The latest phase in Takedown’s rejuvenation program will take place at Scone where trainer Gary Moore hopes the Listed Luskin Star Stakes will act as a springboard to better races.
Battling since winning the Group One Winterbottom Stakes in November, 2016, Takedown has had a dozen runs without a minor placing since his victory in Perth.
The five-year-old fared better in the Group Three Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick but Blake Shinn found himself blocked for a run at the 200m before Takedown finished fifth, 1-1/2 lengths from the winner Burning Passion.
Rosehill-based Moore has been frustrated by Takedown’s slump and suspects the Group One-winning campaign might be behind the horse’s downfall.
After claiming the Group Two Shorts and Premiere Stakes in spring two years ago, Takedown headed to Melbourne, Perth and then Hong Kong in relatively quick succession.
The Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin was the end point and Takedown has struggled ever since.
“He’s been a bit of a worry since he came back from Hong Kong,” Moore said. It happened to Chautauqua too but he came back from it didn’t he?”
Chautauqua won the Chairman’s Sprint at Sha Tin in 2016 then returned home for two unplaced runs before a spell and a successful comeback culminating in his third TJ Smith Stakes last year.
Moore is pleased with Takedown’s demeanour as he prepares for his first trip to Scone for Saturday’s Luskin Star Stakes (1300m).
“He’s been jumping around. I haven’t seen that for the best part of nine or 10 months,” Moore said.
“He worked very well on Saturday, so I’m very pleased with the horse.”
There were 20 nominations on Monday for the capacity field of 16, including local hope The Monstar who had his return from a spell delayed by unfavourable track conditions at Hawkesbury on April 28.