Saturn ready to give his rivals a staying lesson
It has been a long time between drinks for Saturn but the Caspar Fownes-trained stayer is back to his favourite race today, attempting to upset Paul O'Sullivan's Ever Bright in a Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2,400m) that has plenty of championship relevance.
O'Sullivan trails Fownes by seven wins in the championship chase that could quickly become a one-act affair if the New Zealander can't pull some ground back this week.
Historically, the leader at the six-week mark goes on to win the title and that milestone is any time now.
For Saturn (Brett Prebble), it's a return to his last winning distance and last winning event as the seven-year-old took the Queen Mother Memorial Cup in 2005 under Robbie Fradd.
Just to prove it was no fluke, he was back to finish second to Dr Well in the same race 12 months ago, and Fownes looks to have targeted the 2,400m race with him again this year.
A free-flowing Saturn did well at Happy Valley at his latest outing, coming off an absence from the races of 95 days and running keenly as he often can, but it still took virtually all the race for Famous Dancer and Nilometer to get him down over 1,800m.
As always, the key will be whether Prebble can settle the gelding, whether in the lead rolling along or even trailing a leader if some other runner decides to take up the running.
Of course, O'Sullivan's smart young stayer Ever Bright (Danny Nikolic) is the one Saturn has to beat - three wins and a second from four starts tells the tale and the trainer has insisted all along that 2,400m would be his ideal.
In fact, O'Sullivan even made it clear after the gelding's last victory at 1,800m in Class Two that he would welcome a sufficiently large handicap penalty to ensure Ever Bright was eligible for this race.
So while he is skipping a grade, Ever Bright at this distance may be even better than what we have seen from him at 1,800m.
The David Ferraris-trained Syllabus (Eric Saint-Martin) is another with serious claims stepping up to 2,400m.
He was a Class Four winner at the distance at his only attempt two years ago and has since gone on to be a more than handy galloper, but like all stayers, he rarely gets a real chance to take on the classic trip.