Red Excitement (left) will be out to defend his Summer Cup title at Randwick.
Red Excitement has had a somewhat different path to the Summer Cup than he did a year ago but trainer Gerald Ryan is hoping for the same result.
The eight-year-old is defending his title in Tuesday’s 2000m-Listed race at Randwick after a solid midfield finish in the Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m).
Along the way, Ryan has had to change a few things after Red Excitement almost pulled off the biggest upset in Australian racing in the Chelmsford Stakes at the second of his eight starts this campaign.
He led the field by many lengths and champion Winx had to call on her reserves to run him down, which in the end she did to win by a comfortable one length.
While Winx went on her winning ways including a third Cox Plate, the effort told on Red Excitement who pulled hard and over–raced at his next few starts.
Four starts and a barrier trial later, he settled and hit the line well for third in the Festival Stakes before the Villiers.
“He’s really good now and he won this race last year,” Ryan said.
“He’s a great old horse and has earned more than a million dollars.
“He is a stable favourite and I’ve been pleased with his past couple of runs.”
The Chris Waller-trained Black On Gold is the early $4.80 favourite form 2015 winner Mighty Lucky ($5) and Red Excitement ($6).
Ryan will also take Mon Pere to the races for the first time in more than a year.
The winner of four of his eight starts, the five-year-old will run in a benchmark race over 1200 metres.
“He hasn’t raced for 12 months so I’m not sure what to expect,” Ryan said.
“He wasn’t injured. He got sick while he was in the spelling paddock.
“He has run well in two barrier trials so hopefully we can get him back.”