Veteran Adelaide sprinter Daytona Grey did enough in his return to racing for trainer Leon Macdonald to give the gelding a crack at the Sir John Monash Stakes in Melbourne.
The rising eight-year-old has netted more than $500,000 prize money from his 50 starts and lines up in Saturday’s Group Three Sir John Monash (1100m) at Caulfield.
Daytona Grey pleased Macdonald in his return to racing on June 24 at Morphettville, his first start for 42 weeks, finishing fifth in a 1050m benchmark-90 won by fellow Monash entrant Cashed.
Macdonald, who trains in partnership with Andrew Gluyas, said they considered retiring the Group Three winner after his last campaign but decided to give him another crack on the racetrack.
“Before this preparation he had a lot of feet problems but he had a nice long spell and his feet came good,” Macdonald said.
“He was bucking his brand off in the paddock so we put him back into work.
“And he ran extremely well first-up.”
Macdonald said the 1050m was probably a bit short of Daytona Grey’s best distance and believed even the 1100m of Saturday’s race was “probably a little worry”.
“He would probably be better off at 1200,” Macdonald said.
“There was a race at Morphettville Parks on Saturday over 1250 metres and I had three (nominated) in it. But I thought he went well enough to have a crack at a race like this.
“It’s pretty hard to line up the form and the good horses might not be fully wound-up, who knows.
“His work on Tuesday was really good so I think he can run a bit of a race on Saturday.”
Stable jockey Clare Lindop has chosen to ride Daytona Grey at Caulfield, almost certainly conceding the Adelaide premiership to Jamie Kah.
Daytona Grey boasts 12 wins including the Group Three 2015 R N Irwin Stakes and 2016 Listed Manihi Classic.
Group One placed sprinter Supido is the early favourite ahead of Perth stakes winner Chocolate Holic who will make his eastern states debut for the Darren Weir stable.
Macdonald expects Daytona Grey will get a race run to suit which should give him the chance to finish off well.
“He’s best suited when the speed is on and I don’t think there’s any doubt of that with Lord Of The Sky in the race on Saturday,” he said.