Brett Cavanough’s The Monstar will get his first run this campaign in the Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on Saturday, a race the trainer admits will be a test for the four-year-old gelding.
The Monstar has won half of his 12 career starts but after finishing seven and a half lengths behind Pyrrolic in the Listed AR Creswick Series Final (1200m) in July, the gelding was spelled for just under five months.
The Creswick Series Final was The Monstar’s first black-type race but he could only manage to finish in eighth place. He had a successful barrier trial on November 17, winning by one length over a distance of 900 metres.
“He was placed in a $100,000 race and is a horse who can run good times,” Cavanough told Sky Racing.
“He won a barrier trial a couple of weeks ago and has had a couple of jump-outs so he is going there in good order.
“We want to see how good he is. Sandown is a big track. It should suit him and there won’t be any shortage of speed.
“It will be a test but I’ve got no reason to think he won’t run well.”
While The Monstar has been absent for nearly five months, the gelding has plenty of experience over the distance of the Doveton Stakes. He won his maiden on debut over 1000m in November last year as well as a benchmark 55 and 70 over the following two months.
He also scored a minor placing in an open sprint over 1100m at Flemington in June, finishing just over one length off the winner.
Cavanough has enlisted the help of champion hoop Dwayne Dunn to ride The Monstar in the 2014 Doveton Stakes (also known as the Emma Booth Christmas Cup) however the pair were unlucky to draw the widest gate in the barrier draw on Tuesday morning.
The trainer will have two horses running in Melbourne this weekend. Number One Gun is set to run in the 955m challenge at Moonee Valley on Friday night. The six-year-old gelding will also be ridden by Dunn and has drawn wide in barrier 10 of 11.
2014 Doveton Stakes favourite Lord Of The Sky will jump from midfield after drawing barrier five.
Betting markets for the 2014 Doveton Stakes will open at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly, make sure your online account is open and ready to go before then. New customers will receive up to $100 in a bonus match on their first bet.