A brave Flemington win on Emirates Stakes Day carrying top weight has trainer Michael Moroney eyeing a Kilmore Cup 2015 run with his six-year-old miler Rhythm To Spare.
On Saturday the Pins gelding broke a notable winning drought taking out the $100,000 Antler Luggage Handicap (1600m) on the final Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting with 60kg on his back.
Given a gun run by Damien Oliver the $9.50 chance had one and three-quarter lengths to spare on the $4.20 favourite Defiant Angel in the finish with Setinum finishing off the trifecta in the Benchmark 96 clash.
It was Rhythm To Spare’s first turf triumph since May last year in Adelaide’s Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m), which he also won with Oliver aboard over the mile, and was his maiden win since returning to racing after an operation.
“When they come back from surgery – he had bone chips removed from fetlock joints – you’re always questioning if they don’t lose form,” Moroney told Racing Ahead on RSN on Monday morning.
“We were pretty confident he would come back to near his best.
“He’s come through the run well. We took him for a spin this morning, he had a trot up and seems fine.”
The past two seasons saw the horse run on the same meeting but in the day’s marquee race, the Group 1 Emirates Mile (1600m) for a seventh to Boban in 2013 and a 12th when beaten nearly 11 lengths by Hucklebuck last year.
While the Group 1 trophy would have been superb, Moroney was still pleased to pick up a consolation prize this season.
From a dozen 1600m starts the horse has now won five times, good form according to his Flemington-based trainer who plans to run him over the distance again on Sunday November 22 in the $130,000 Listed Kilmore Cup (1600m).
“I’m looking that he might be right for the Kilmore Cup, back at a mile,” Moroney said.
The stable tested the horse over staying distances as a three-year-old back in 2013 when the then youngster showed promise running second to Hawkspur in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben before a fourth to the same horse in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
Moroney is confident now however a mile is Rhythm To Spare’s best distance, his last start over further being in last November’s Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown when fourth to Zabisco.
“He was quite strange at three, he was second in the Grand Prix Stakes and fourth in the Queensland Derby… he just looks now the mile is probably right for him,” he said.
“We were keen to step him out a little bit further this time around.
“If we get a little bit of rain during this period of time, we’ll keep going with him because he does want a little bit of give in the ground.”
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