WHEN you are dealing with perfection, there is little left to say, but luckily Mark Kavanagh didn’t need to concentrate solely on his unbeaten superstar Atlantic Jewel when previewing his spring chances at his Flemington stables yesterday.
For while Atlantic Jewel is showing him all the signs she could live up to her rating and win a race like the Cox Plate this spring judging on her preparation work to date. Kavanagh also fancies his chances in a number of other spring features now he has the less-marketable but almost as remarkable import December Draw back to near race fitness.
Last year, December Draw progressed from restricted class import from England to one of the shortest-priced favourites for the Caulfield Cup in just six months. Ultimately he was galloped on in the Caulfield Cup and broke a splint bone in a hind leg, but what he achieved before that by winning five of his six starts, including the group 1 Turnbull Stakes, was baffling given his make-up.
”He was hairy and bony and small, but he’s put on something like 65 kilograms over his break from racing and has muscled up, is great in the coat and just looks fantastic,” Kavanagh said. ”Certainly bodywise he has taken that next step and he could develop into a genuine weight-for-age galloper this spring.”
Kavanagh said December Draw was given plenty of time to heal, but came into work for a month in April. ”He came in for a little while, then we sent him out again and he really hasn’t put a foot wrong since he’s been back in [work].”
December Draw is expected to make his return at Flemington in September’s group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes, and it is at Flemington where Kavanagh hopes the horse can enjoy his best day at the races in the Melbourne Cup. ”He loves racing at Flemington and the way he’s come back, anything is possible,” he said.
But while December Draw has his followers, Atlantic Jewel will be expected to take over Black Caviar’s role as the spring carnival’s most-photographed ambassador as she tries to closely emulate her unbeaten predecessor. She had a pre-spring showing for the cameras at Flemington yesterday and while a little overawed at the attention, she knows how to hold a pose.
With seven wins from seven runs, and as early favourite for October’s Cox Plate, Atlantic Jewel is nearing a return to racing on Saturday week at Caulfield and Kavanagh knows the next four months could give him a memory for life.
”She looked good in a jump-out here last Friday and if she jumps out well again on Friday, she’ll probably kick off at Caulfield in either the weight-for-age race [Lawrence Stakes] or the mares’ [Cockram Stakes],” he said. ”She’s lovely and athletic and she’s come back stronger.”
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