Conlan Interested in Cox Plate 2011

Cranbourne-based trainer Jim Conlan is eager for his Melbourne Spring Carnival frontrunner Rekindled Interest to get back to race conditions this Saturday as he looks towards the 2011 Caulfield Cup and 2011 Cox Plate.

Lion Tamer

Rekindled Interest defeated subsequent Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer (pictured) last spring

Redoute’s Choice four-year-old Rekindled Interest has been nominated to resume in the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday.

The race, which attracted a star-studded list of 24 early entries, will give Conlan’s Group 2 AAMI Vase winner the chance to put their spring carnival claims on display.

Rekindled Interest hasn’t raced since their disappointing fifth, beaten 12 lengths by Kiwi galloper Lion Tamer in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) on a Heavy Flemington track back in October.

“The Derby was one of those days where the form just doesn’t have any relevance as it was that wet and the horse (Lon Tamer) we beat (by two lengths) in the AAMI Vase, beat him by more than 12 lengths,” Conlan said of Rekindled Interest’s last race appearance.

Conlan said Rekindled Interest had come back in good form and were ready for another Melbourne Spring Carnival assault, this time targeting the prestigious $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 and the lucrative $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.

“He’s coming along well and he’s going to kick off at the weekend,” Conlan confirmed.

“I took him to Sale (on Sunday) and gave him a gallop and he worked quite nicely.

“He hadn’t had a trial so far this prep so he’s going to go into the race off a fairly long break.

“But he’s good, everything is right with him at the moment and he’s really working nicely.

“I would expect him to need this run but he’s heading in the right direction for the spring.

“He should run a nice race and improve from there.”

Nominations for the 2011 Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate close today, Rekindled Interest to be entered for both.

One major spring feature not on Rekindled Interest’s hit list is the 2011 Melbourne Cup, Conlan saying he would not nominate the horse for the $6 million handicap stating the two-miles as a distance beyond the horse’s ability.

“I won’t enter him for the Melbourne Cup,” Conlan said.

“On his pedigree and the type of horse he is I don’t think he could possibly run the two miles.”

In the current all-in Caulfield Cup odds Rekindled Interest is rated a $41 chance in markets lead by Peter Moody’s Lights Of Heaven ($13).

Cox Plate futures betting has Rekindled Interest at a slightly shorter price of $31, with dual Cox Plate winner but unlikely acceptor So You Think the $7 favourite.

The weight-for-age Cox Plate has emerged as an attractive option for Conlan with Rekindled Interest as he believes the lack of any genuine WFA star among the spring ranks and the nice weight they would get as a four-year-old make it an achievable aim.

“The Cox Plate is a race I’m looking at and because of the light weight he would get in with, maybe the Toorak Handicap would be a good race for him too,” he said.

The $350,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) runs at Caulfield on October 8, a week before the Caulfield Cup 2011.

Unlikely to run in two testing Group 1 features on back-to-back Saturdays, Conlan will make a decision on whether to target the Toorak or Caulfield Cup with Rekindled Interest later in the season based on how they progress as a stayer.

“The 2400 metres of the Caulfield Cup is probably stretching his pedigree a bit,” Conlan said of Rekindled Interest whose longest-distanced win to date was the 2040 metres of the AAMI Vase.

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