Trainer Bjorn Baker says the reversal of fortunes front-running stayer Father's Day has experienced in the past month is in no small part due to the work of jockey Rachel King.
The six-year-old charged through his grades just over a year ago then found himself in the wildnerness with eight unplaced runs on end before a breakthrough at the end of October.
Baker said Father's Day, who chases a fifth career win in the Ranvet Handicap (2400m) at Warwick Farm on Wednesday, has impressed him with his resurgence since he's changed the horse's routine.
"He's turned the corner properly,'' Baker said.
"Rachel King has done a lot of work jumping him and I think that's as much the key as anything.
"He's always been a bit quirky and at times I've questioned how much he wants to do it.
"I think at the moment he's definitely running in a rich vein of form and doing a very good job."
Father's Day broke the field up in his Kensington win over 2400m last month then was a little more controlled in front when run down by Speycaster at Rosehill on November 11.
Baker said while the gelding rises 5kg on his gallant last start placing he feels he's found an ideal race coming back a notch in grade.
"It was a very admirable run because he was under pressure on the corner but kept fighting so if he runs up to that he should be right there,'' he said.
"He's a genuine stayer, he likes to get out and do his own thing and Rachel rides those horses very well.
"I think he should be pretty competitive back to midweek grade."
King and Baker combine with lightly raced three-year-old Joey D'Or in the Ghaiyyath First Yearlings Handicap (1400m) chasing a maiden victory after three placings on end this time in.
He struck a heavy track at Kembla Grange on November 7 and potentially bumped into a smart one when a beaten favourite behind The Hawkesbury over 1200m.
"He's a nice horse, he's been consistent and I think the 1400m should suit,'' Baker said.
"He's got a good gate so hopefully he can put himself right behind the speed."
Meanwhile, Malkovich is preparing for his third shot at Kembla Grange's feature sprint, the $300,000 The Warra (1000m), on Saturday.
The six-year-old was run down by Eleven Eleven in 2021 before finishing fifth behind Athelric a year ago and Baker said he's shown his readiness with his latest trial win.
"He trialled really well last week,'' he said.
"He was probably a little lacklustre for his first trial so I think he's really come on since then. I'm very happy with him, he galloped really well (Tuesday) morning."
3. Storm The Ramparts promised a bit in his first campaign then shook off the maiden first-up for the Pride stable with a soft Gosford win at this trip. Sure to get a nice run just off them here and it wouldn't surprise to see him back it up.
Dangers: 1. Le Parrain was too speedy despite a big betting drift on debut then game in defeat in Listed company behind Mumbai Muse where he was reeled in over the last 150m. Back to the short course and if he gets any favours will be hard to beat. 4. Mafia has been gelded and returns with a couple of strong trial efforts to his name. Any support would be significant and he's one to be wary of. 7. Northumbria is ex-Godolphin and scored a dominant maiden win first-up for the Litt stable at Goulburn. Step up here but hard to leave out.
How to play it: Storm The Ramparts WIN; Trifecta 3/1,4,7/1,4,7.
7. Heads You Lose made a handy start to his career with a narrow but strong debut win at Kembla on a heavy track. Finds James McDonald to ride here and the mile should suit. While he's giving away experience he's found a winnable race and could repeat.
Dangers: 2. Buillt has been a bit hit and miss to date, his last win was over this course in October, and comes back from a fair fifth at 1800m last week. Has every chance from a soft draw to put himself in the finish. 5. Flic En Flac had good support first-up at Goulburn and held on for third after leading over 1300m. Fitter for that and shapes as an improver, particularly if she gets control. 1. Offspring has been thereabouts all prep with two wins coming at Canberra. Latest under 62kg. Sits seven benchmark ratings points clear of his opposition so has to be respected.
How to play it: Heads You Lose WIN.
2. Father's Day has found his form of late and backed up a daring all the way win at Kensington with a fighting second up in class at Rosehill over this trip. He'll lead and if he's allowed any control in front then it'll be catch me if you can from the 600m. The one to beat.
Dangers: 1. Auspicious Cloud is fitter for two runs back over unsuitable trips and showed some improvement into the latest in an 1800m Midway second-up. Was competitive in the Listed features at this trip in the winter and is worth thought. 3. First Light suggested a win could be close with his Rosehill placing two starts back then backed up within a week, sat on speed, and wasn't effective last time. Up in distance to a trip he's won at overseas. Could be worth another chance. 7. Loving Cilla was in the market and ran on without threatening in the same race as Father's Day at Rosehill. Better for the run at the trip and could be more effective this time.
How to play it: Father's Day WIN; Trifecta 2/1,3,7/1,3,7.
4. Chilly Charlie might have been a bit unlucky at Newcastle at his second start, was shut out of a run in the straight so did well to pick himself up and claim third. Plenty of favours here with a soft gate and extra 100m and should be a big chance.
Dangers: 1. Rockola sets up well to go close here on the back of a sound third at Kensington three weeks ago where the winner had control in front. Runner-up has since won. Form around him is good and this looks a race up for grabs. Go well. 6. Joey D'Or bumped into what looks a smart one when runner-up to The Hawkesbury at Kembla last time out on a heavy track. Will be handy in the run and no reason he shouldn't be competitive. 5. Duke Of Lancaster was a drifter in betting at his debut at Kembla and loomed up before levelling out in third there at 1300m. Fitter for it and with McDonald riding there's sure to be interest. Keep in mind.
How to play it: Chilly Charlie WIN; Trifecta 4/1,5,6/1,5,6.
2. Afterlight plummets in class on her last couple where it's fair to say she hasn't had the best of luck. Sat wide throughout at Rosehill last time when right in the market and faded to beat one home. Won easily here first-up and from a cosy draw has every chance to bounce back.
Dangers: 3. Silent Raindrops sustained a long run from last in a six horse field and kept going to score at Gosford last week. Now she's hit form she can hold it at her preferred trip and Nash going on doesn't hurt her chances either. 6. Lady Kah showed a heap of promise winning her first two starts in good style before failing in a Highway at Kembla a year ago as favourite. Her recent trial was strong and while drawn out she's worth keeping an eye on. 7. Shiffrin is lightly raced and won twice back in June before an even effort at Wyong out in distance. Liked her latest trial and she could run a cheeky race fresh.
How to play it: Afterlight WIN; Trifecta 2/3,6,7/3,6,7.
2. Akaka Falls is shaping up well this time in, game effort fresh at Kensington after drawing wide then just outgunned late on a soft 7 at Kembla two weeks ago. Claim is handy and in what looks an open race has each-way claims.
Dangers: 8. Accredited won well at Nowra on debut then seemed to have his chance in a Gosford Class 1 before a break. Sure to have upside, draws well and fitter for a couple of trials. Commands some respect on his home track. 6. Jacenza didn't really fire last preparation but showed enough early on in his previous prep to be wary of him fresh. Trialled well to win at Scone recently and finds gate one. Check betting for a pointer. 1. Merry Mac Boy is ex-Peter Moody and kicks off for Joe Pride after a close third in the same trial as Accredited. May find the 1100m a touch sharp but worth some thought here.
How to play it: Akaka Falls E/W.
2. Power Of The Brave has taken a step up with each run this time in and was closing on the winner when narrowly beaten at Randwick in this class on November 7. Looks ready to win and if he gets the breaks early from the tricky gate he'll be hard to hold off.
Dangers: 1. How's It Kev ran a solid third at Newcastle two starts back then leapt in class when not beaten far at Rosehill in a blanket finish behind the placegetters. Down in grade again, gate one and McDonald to ride makes him well worth another chance. 5. Atlantic Ocean has been disappointing but he tends to do enough to keep himself on the radar as a chance in a race like this. Down in class on his last couple and if he finds the form from his second at Kensington three runs back he'd be in the finish. 11. Head Of The Herd showed some fight to hold on and score a maiden win first-up almost two months ago. Since won a trial in good style and while stepping up to 1400m off a break is a query the stable seems to be able to pull that off more often than not. Keep in mind.
How to play it: Power Of The Brave WIN; Trifecta 2/1,5,11/1,5,11.
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