Oak Door will wear blinkers as he attempts to get back to the winners’ list at Caulfield.
Trainer Robert Smerdon is hoping the addition of blinkers to the race day gear of Oak Door will spark the four-year-old back into winning form at Caulfield.
Oak Door resumes from a break of almost three months in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) on Tuesday.
Smerdon believes Oak Door, at his best, is capable of winning Tuesday’s race, but the shock of his last-start performance at Moonee Valley lingers in the trainer’s mind.
“It’s a race on his best form he would certainly be in up to his ears but his last run at Moonee Valley was substandard for him,” Smerdon said.
“We couldn’t find any reason after a lot of soul searching and testing with him which came up blank.
“We backed off him and built him up again.”
Smerdon said the four-year-old had been lacklustre in a couple of jump-outs before the blinkers went on in a trial at Colac last Monday, sparking a revival.
“He had a jump-out at Sandown which Ryan Maloney thought was a bit plain and then we put the blinkers back on him at Colac last Monday and Ryan was much happier with his performance,” Smerdon said.
“Maybe now he’s a four-year-old entire he lost his focus a little bit.
“He had blinkers on early doors and he was a bit keen in them so we got rid of them.
“He had success without them but maybe now, especially at the 1200 (metres), he needs something to help him focus.”
Smerdon is expecting an improved showing from Sadler’s Lake who runs in the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m).
It will be Sadler’s Lake’s third run for Smerdon following an injury enforced break and like Oak Door he was successful in a Colac trial last Monday.
He was previously trained in Sydney by Chris Waller.
“He’s sound but after a long time off the scene it’s taken taken a while to get him back,” Smerdon said.
“I think you’ll see an improved run but whether he’ll improve enough to be competitive we’ll have to see.
“He might need further and a bit weaker but I can see him improving off his last start because he’s getting fitter with each run.”