Godolphin’s head trainer John O’Shea this week confirmed plans to for Cox Plate-bound Contributer to return to racing early next month in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes 2015 at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Set to run on September 5, the weight-for-age $250,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) will be the maiden run for the star imported High Chaparral five-year-old since he posted back-to-back Group 1 wins in the autumn.
On debut down under last October the now six-year-old won first-up in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield before a disappointing eighth behind Hucklebuck in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) when dropped back in distance that November on a too-firm Flemington track.
Sent for a spell after the Group 1 loss, Contributer returned in February and hasn’t been defeated since with three wins from as many starts last campaign in Sydney.
His opening win in Sydney was in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick before his two elite level autumn successes in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (100m) at Warwick Farm and the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) when defeating the Japanese-trained Tosen Stardom at Rosehill on March 21.
In a warning to his spring rivals, O’Shea told Racenet this week the $1 million earner has come back bigger and stronger than at the start of the year and is ready to kill it this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“He’s come back bigger and stronger,” O’Shea said.
“He was racing at about 510kg last campaign but is about 545kg at the moment.
“I expect he’ll race about 25kg heavier this time which I’m happy about.
“He exceeded all expectations last campaign and I have a better understanding of him now.
“I am happy with him.”
After the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, won last year by star Tassie raider The Cleaner, Contributer will track towards a run back at the Valley on October 24 in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship – the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m).
“The Cox Plate will be his grand final,” O’Shea said.
Early Cox Plate betting on the nominations, which closed last week, are open now at Ladbrokes.com.au with Contriubter the current $10 second elect behind international invitee Arod ($9).
Contributer had his first official hit-out this week on Monday morning at Randwick’s Kensington track and impressed O’Shea with his trail where the galloper’s regular jockey James McDonald was in the saddle.
Worked over 835m in the second heat of the morning, McDonald kept the dual Group 1 winning import just off the pace and didn’t overextend him as he finished a nice fourth just off the back of the first three past the post including the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Flamboyant Lass.
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