Two years after almost winning the Australia Stakes, rejuvenated sprinter Undeniably is back to go one better at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
A bout of travel sickness a few months after the 2011 edition of the Group Two sprint put Undeniably’s career in doubt.
But after a couple of failed preparations the six-year-old has started to reward his connections’ perseverance this summer with a fast-finishing second in the Doveton Stakes followed by victory in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) on Boxing Day.
Michael Rodd is yet to ride Undeniably in a race this preparation but is confident the sprinter can continue on from his recent efforts.
“It’s good to be back on him. He’s a horse with quite a lot of talent and it’s a skinny-looking race with not a lot of depth,” Rodd said.
“He ran second in it a couple of years ago so we know he’s up to the standard.”
Undeniably’s preparation for the Australia Stakes wasn’t all smooth sailing with Rodd dumped off the sprinter when he knuckled after the start in a jumpout last Friday.
Both rider and horse escaped unharmed.
Rodd is glad Kavanagh and the team kept faith in Undeniably and an Australia Stakes win would be another reward after his Christmas Stakes success.
“He did get crook and went off the boil for a couple of preparations,” Rodd said.
“They were tossing up whether to retire him or give him another go and thankfully Kav decided to give him another crack.
Pinwheel heads the market at $2 in front of Undeniably at $3.70.
Outlandish Lad, a former stablemate of Undeniably, won a Listed race at Moonee Valley last year but trainer Dennis O’Leary says it’s hard to gauge exactly how well he’s going ahead of Friday’s race.
“One of the difficulties we’ve got, trainers that train at Strathalbyn, is that we’ve got an allocation of how many gallops we’ve got and mine is eight a month so I use them sparingly,” O’Leary said.
He said Outlandish Lad had done most of his work at Goolwa Beach ahead of the race but had a good grass gallop on Saturday morning.