Wangoom based horseman Darren Weir has done everything he can to get his returning galloper Puissance de Lune race fit after 42 weeks out of racing but knows they will have plenty of improvement after Saturday’s 2014 P.B. Lawrence Stakes run.
The Shamardal grey won last year’s $200,000 Group 2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first-up after a 23 week spell but the task is even tougher this year with nearly double that between the weekend and when he last raced.
“I’m looking for him to have a nice run throughout and then hit the line hard,” Weir, who is hopeful but not overly optimistic, told the Herald Sun.
“He’s as fit as I can get him without racing him but he’s now a seven-year-old bull and he’s going to have some fatness inside of him.
“Last year he was coming back from 23 weeks off and this time its 42 weeks off.
“He’s in similar order but there’s got to be a difference as he hasn’t raced for ages.”
Debuting as a seven-year-old at Caulfield on Saturday Puissance de Lune hasn’t raced since injuring his tendon when 12th behind Shamus Award in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last October.
Weir considered retiring the stallion after they pulled up lame post Cox Plate however scans to the injury encouraged him to keep the horse for at least one more season of racing.
That season starts on Saturday with a PB Lawrence Stakes title defense, Puissance de Lune looking to become history’s second back-to-back winner of the race – the first since Tauto (1971-72).
He goes into the race without an official trial but Weir has given them plenty of lead-up work at around the country tracks like Warracknabeal, Coleraine and Donald with Brad Rawiller aboard.
“They were nice trials. They weren’t outstanding. He’s ready to go but there’s going to be improvement to come from tomorrow,” Weir said.
Rawiller reunites with the one-time Melbourne Cup favourite on the weekend riding him for the first time since the duo went down as the beaten odds-on favourites at Warrnambool back in October of 2012.
Weir is happy with the decision to put Rawiller, who was suspended for that ride two years back and subsequently replaced by Glen Boss as the horse’s regular rider, back aboard for Saturday.
“He’s done the work coming up here to work him,” he said.
As for what this year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival holds, Puissance de Lune will be targeted at the $400,000 Group 1 Memise Stakes (1400m) on August 30 and then the $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse on September 13.
He ran a nose away second to Foreteller, a $7 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Lawrence Stakes on the weekend, in last year’s Makybe Diva and also posted another close second at elite level two runs later back at the track behind subsequent Cox Plate runner-up Happy Trails in the Turnbull Stakes.
After that the bookmakers are predicting another shot at the Cox Plate with Ladbrokes.com.au installing the galloper as a $21 chance in their futures markets for the October 25 classic.
Weir though is reluctant to set anything in stone with the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) the weekend before also being considered.
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