Cox Plate placegetter Rekindled Interest is making good progress as he prepares for what trainer Jim Conlan believes will be his best campaign yet in the spring.
Conlan said the rising 5-year-old was in pre-training and would return to his stables on June 25 with a view to resuming in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 1.
"I would imagine this would be his best preparation," Conlan said.
"You would think he is coming into his best year as he's sound, he's well and he's stronger and more mature."
He said Rekindled Interest would be able to start his spring campaign later than last year when he resumed early in August in the Aurie's Star at Flemington after missing the 2011 autumn by design.
This year, he had three autumn starts and after a first-up sixth to Black Caviar in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, headed to Sydney where he was beaten in a photo-finish by Metal Bender in the George Ryder Stakes before his fifth to More Joyous in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
"He needed the extra run last spring as he hadn't raced since the Victoria Derby, but this year he came to hand so quickly he nearly won the Ryder second-up."
Conlan said the Cox Plate was again Rekindled Interest's goal with the Dato Tan Chin Nam (1600m) at Moonee Valley, which he won last year, and the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington his most likely lead-ups. Last year, Rekindled Interest ran in the same races before finishing third to Pinker Pinker in the Cox Plate after a luckless run.
Conlan is also hoping to play a hand in the Cups with former English stayers Moyenne Corniche and Saptapadi, who finished 15th and 16th respectively in last year's Melbourne Cup.
Saptapadi, who is raced on lease by Jonathon Munz, had his first start for Conlan when beaten eight lengths and finishing second last in Saturday's Winter Championship heat at Flemington.
Last Thursday, Moyenne Corniche arrived at Conlan's after completing three weeks' pre-training with Mathew Williams at Warrnambool.
Conlan will decide Saptapadi's path after his next run over a mile.
"That will determine if we back off him and get him ready for the spring or we keep punching on though the winter," Conlan said.
Moyenne Corniche won England's Ebor Handicap (2800m), beating Saptapadi into fifth, before both horses arrived in Australia last spring.
Conlan said Moyenne Corniche, who at his Australian debut was a barnstorming third to Shewan in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield last October, was particularly exciting.
"I like him," Conlan said. "He has got a good turn of foot and looks a real Caulfield Cup horse."