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Mornington trainer Jim Conlan will add blinkers to the gear of his well-performing galloper Rekindled Interest for their first Group 1 assignment of the new season in this Saturday’s Turnbull Stakes 2012.
One of five elite level features taking place around Australia this weekend, the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) is shaping up as a cracker with the likes of defending champ and Caulfield Cup favourite December Draw, reigning Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed and recent Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes champ Happy Trails among the 19 early entries.
Another exciting 2012 Turnbull Stakes nominee is Redoute’s Choice five-year-old Rekindled Interest looking to finally break their Group 1 maiden status racing in their ninth elite level feature.
Rekindled Interest came close to a Group 1 title last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival backing up from their Turnbull Stakes fifth to run third to Pinker Pinker in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and third again this time to Glass Harmonium, second in last year’s Turnbull Stakes, in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Victoria Derby Day.
However their narrowest Group 1 defeat came during the autumn in Sydney when they were beaten a nose by Metal Bender to finish runner-up in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
After a below par first-up seventh to Sincero in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 1 Rekindled Interest showed they would improve stepping up in distance this season with their close last start third to Happy Trails in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 15.
Rekindled Interest is also still among the nominations for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney on Saturday, but they will defect from that race and continue towards the 2012 Cox Plate by contesting the Turnbull in Melbourne.
Tuesday morning saw Rekindled Interest work on the course proper at Flemington over 1400m with Damien Oliver aboard wearing blinkers to finish the final 400m in 23.15 seconds, and Conlan admitted they would have the headgear on again in the Turnbull, one run earlier than they were added last spring.
“I think we’re just a little bit behind where we were last year and I think he just needs to be brought on a bit,” Conlan said.
“He’s holding his condition a bit more than what he did last year, probably just being a year older and a bit more mature.
“Plus, we missed out on a run with the Liston (Lawrence) being run on a heavy track and then in the Memsie we only got a very soft run because he got checked over the last 150 metres, so he didn’t get a hard run.
“I think he just a little bit behind and I’d like to see him have a fairly hard run on the weekend.”
Conlan however was happy with the way the horse worked this morning and was confident that they were ready to improve.
“It seemed good (work),” Conlan said.
“Damien was very happy with his action and the way he went about his work, so it was all quite pleasing and he’s recovered very well from the work.”
Out to improve on their third in the weight-for-age classic last spring, Rekindled Interest is currently rated a $14 chance through bookmaker.com.au for this year’s $3 million Group 2 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.
The 2012 Turnbull Stakes final field and barrier draw will be released on Wednesday with Races.com.au to publish the full list of acceptances and gates.
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