Caulfield’s John Sadler is considering the 2016 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes next-up for his veteran sprinter Charmed Harmony despite the galloper’s Memsie Stakes flop last Saturday.
The out-of-form seven-year-old ran unplaced for the fourth time on the trot, Charmed Harmony only managing to cross seven lengths away ninth to the Darren Weir-trained winner Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Pre-race Sadler had spruiked his son of Hussonet as a smoky in the weight-for-age clash, which kicked off Group 1 racing this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
There was no denying that Charmed Harmony was disappointing in the Memsie Stakes, but Sadler doesn’t believe the horse was at full fitness.
He is keen then to do a full post-race assessment of the horse, but hopes to have him back on track for a September 24 run back at Caulfield Racecourse in the $500,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
“We’re just going to do some tests on him before we work out where we’re going next with him,” Sadler told Racing Victoria on Sunday.
“Obviously he took charge yesterday, but I just don’t think he’s going anywhere near his best.
“The obvious next race for him would be the Sir Rupert Clarke, but we’ll have a good look over him before deciding where we’re going.”
Charmed Harmony ran a close fifth as a 16/1 shot behind Stratum Star in last year’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, beaten only one and a quarter-lengths.
He went into that race in far better form than this season however having won his four lead-up races going back to early July.
Winner of the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) in mid-November last spring, Charmed Harmony has won just once since when narrowly defeating Lord Durante over 1400m at Caulfield on April 30.
His four subsequent runs have all been at the tail-end of the field including his dead last when 18th in Brisbane’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in June and his Memsie Stakes ninth.
The Memsie Stakes winner Black Heart Bart meanwhile is likely to run next-up in the $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10.
He is tracking towards an October 22 showdown with Chris Waller’s superstar mare Winx in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Winx is the dominant $2.50 favourite in all-in Cox Plate betting after the daughter of Street Cry resumed with a powerhouse victory in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
Black Heart Bart meanwhile is currently rated a $21 shot in futures Cox Plate odds to score an upset in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
The other best out of the Memsie Stakes heading towards the Makybe Diva Stakes is the Lindsay Park-trained runner-up Rising Romance.
Co-trainer David Hayes was thrilled with the six-year-old mare’s return to racing, the Memsie her first run since an unplaced effort at Sha Tin in Hong Kong’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) from late April.
He confirmed the Makybe Diva had always been on the cards this campaign for the daughter of Ekraar who is best known for her 2014 ATC Oaks win as a three-year-old.
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