The Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes was not initially on the agenda for Rhythm To Spare but trainer Mike Moroney senses an opportunity for the gelding in the weight-for-age race.
Rhythm To Spare was a late entry for Saturday’s $250,000 race at Moonee Valley when nominations were extended.
Connections had been looking to run Rhythm To Spare in a support race on Saturday but switched plans after assessing the entries for the Group Two feature.
And Moroney wouldn’t be surprised to see the eight-year-old, who has won his past two starts in 1600m open handicaps, make his presence felt.
“I know he’s older now but he’s in his best form, in my opinion,” Moroney said.
“He’s a specialist miler. And there’s a lot of them in the race that aren’t.”
Rhythm To Spare is at $11 in the field of 11 with last year’s Toorak Handicap winner He’s Our Rokkii the $3.70 favourite.
Star Exhibit is at $5.50 ahead of New Zealand mares Lizzie L’Amour ($7) and Bonneval ($7.5) who are both first-up.
“He’s Our Rokkii obviously is the miler in the race so he is going to logically be the favourite,” Moroney said.
“But a lot of the ones they’ve got in front of us are going to be better over further.
“They’re early in their preparations and might still be able to go well over a mile while fresh, but they’re still not at their right trip and we are.”
Rhythm To Spare was one of two late entries along with veteran Jacquinot Bay.
“We were keen on running in the handicap but then when we looked at the nominations we were quite willing to swap over,” Moroney said.
Rhythm To Spare had 60.5kg in the handicap and Moroney said they could have claimed 2kg but would have had to have a different claiming apprentice aboard to last start as Brandon Stockdale is suspended.
Senior rider Patrick Moloney is back on Rhythm To Spare in the Dato.
“We were only going to be able to claim down to 58.5 kilos in the handicap anyway and we thought there wasn’t much difference between the handicap and the weight-for-age,” Moroney said.
“And there were a lot of horses getting a bit of weight off him in the handicap.”