The recent performances of Magnapal look disappointing on paper but co-trainer Terry O’Sullivan is expecting an improved showing at Caulfield.
The rising eight-year-old runs in the Ladbrokes Handicap (1600m) on Saturday, his third run back from a spell.
O’Sullivan, who trains in partnership with his daughter Karina, says there have been excuses for the gelding who is chasing his first win in 18 months.
After a promising start to a 2016 spring campaign, Magnapal’s form tapered off and he was spelled after running 14th in the Ballarat Cup in November.
In two runs this campaign, Magnapal has finished in front of one horse at each start, but O’Sullivan says he’s expecting a better showing on Saturday.
“We think the old horse is going OK,” O’Sullivan said.
“Hopefully we don’t get a real firm track and he’s drawn a good barrier.
“Saturday will show where he’s at. Hopefully he can step up and run a good race.”
Magnapal drew poorly first-up at Bendigo on April 1 and was trapped wide before being thwarted by a firm track in the Warracknabeal Cup when fifth behind War Story on April 15.
He carried 62.5kg on that occasion and drops to 54kg on Saturday and has since pleased his trainers in an Ararat trial.
“He possibly should have gone back and been ridden a little bit quieter first-up at Bendigo and then he copped a real firm track at Warracknabeal and I don’t believe he stretched out on it,” O’Sullivan said.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday and I think he’ll show a bit.”