By Ray Hickson
If Rekindled Force can keep his unbeaten record intact at Rosehill on Saturday, trainer Paul Messara will leave the course confident he has a Group class three-year-old on his hands.
Messara could have taken the "easier option" of the Highway race for the well bred colt but after two easy wins out of town he felt it’s time to put Rekindled Force to the test.
“If you win the race on Saturday you've got a Group class horse,’’ he said.
“It's just whether he's ready or whether there's more improvement to come.’’
It might seem an odd comment to regard the winner of the CFMEU Mining Handicap (1300m), a Benchmark 75 race, as a coming stakes winner.
But with a number of lightly raced, promising three-year-olds engaged it’d be a surprise if at least a couple don’t train on to better things. Such is the race's strength, Rekindled Force is on the fifth line of betting at $5 with TAB behind Unforgotten ($3.60).
Rekindled Force leads all the way to win at Newcastle - October 21
Rekindled Force is closely related to dual Group 2 winner Rekindled Interest and he’s been untroubled in wins at Muswellbrook and Newcastle.
“He's a nice horse, it's his first prep so we are testing him out,’’ Messara said.
“I always find in their first prep, regardless of how good they are, three runs is ample for them so he's going to the paddock after this.
“It's a nice race for him, he's unbeaten and has done everything right. He still has a long way to come in terms of race craft but he's improving with each race.’’
While the colt has basically led all the way in his two wins to date Messara is itching to have him ridden off the speed.
But that’s unlikely to happen at Rosehill with barrier six of eight and a race lacking obvious pace.
“We've tried to find a race, which we haven't again, with a bit of speed on because I'd love to see him sit in behind the speed and see him find the line,’’ he said.
“It looks like on Saturday we'll be on the speed again but the race will be a good marker for him.’’
It’s a busy time of year for Messara, who trains 12 horses "early in the morning" in addition to his day job as studmaster at Arrowfield.
He said the stud has 1330 visiting mares this spring with about 400 covers to go, and that’s aside from foals being born and preparing yearlings for sale season.
Rekindled Force is likely to be set for the $500,000 Country Championship next year – the $150,000 Scone qualifier is held on March 18.
Though, being a three-year-old, if he continues to improve races like the Group 1 Randwick Guineas could come into play.