When Amah Rock won the Listed Mitchell McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley last August, the Peter Morgan-trained gelding looked to be one of Australia's most promising sprinter/milers.
It was only the second time he'd been to the races, following an Echuca maiden success, and he immediately assumed a prominent position in Caulfield Guineas markets.
Morgan bypassed the Caulfield Guineas with the son of Fastnet Rock, instead targeting the Sandown equivalent, and although he hasn't won in four starts since his Moonee Valley success he hasn't contested a race as suitable as tomorrow's $70,000 Cath White Memorial Handicap at Caulfield.
It will be the second run of a campaign that commenced with a close-up fourth over an unsuitable 1000 metres at Moonee Valley on 31 March and his Whittlesea trainer expects him to appreciate the rise to 1400m.
“It was a bit short for him (first up), probably a little bit further and he might have got away with it, but it should suit this horse on Saturday,” Morgan said of the distance.
“Second-up's a bit of a worry, but he's three weeks between run so I don't think that'll worry him.
“His work's been good, he's done everything right, and I'm happy with the horse. He looks good.”
Amah Rock will carry 58.5kg after Jake Noonan's claim and will jump from barrier five in the event for which he is TAB Sportsbet's $4.20 second elect. Favourite, at $3.80, is the Mick Price-trained Sir Fernando with Darren Weir's Cash Bound ($5.50) the other leading contender.
The Cath White Memorial Handicap precedes the day's feature, the 7-Eleven Pink Ribbon Cup (1400m), in which Morgan will be represented by Dusty Star.
The $100,000 Listed event will be run over the course that the son of General Nediym won last season's Group 2 Autumn Stakes for three-year-olds.
Morgan pulled up stumps with the gelding after a fourth in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield and fifth in the Listed Penny Edition in Adelaide late last winter, but he resumed with a half-length second to Diplomatic Force in the Weary Dunlop Handicap at Wangaratta on 1 April.
The four-year-old has the second-widest barrier to contend with in the 12-horse Pink Ribbon Cup, but Morgan has been pleased with what he's seen from him this campaign.
“I'm a little bit disappointed with the barrier draw, because he is a leader and he's going to have to work hard to get across, but I thought his run at Wangaratta was good,” the trainer said.
“He put in this time the last 100 where normally he can give it away a bit and he probably should have won that race. If he hadn't left the rails he probably would have beaten that horse (Diplomatic Force).”
Dusty Star, who will carry 54.5kg and James Winks, is a $9 chance in TAB Sportsbet's market, which is headed by first emergency Sheila's Star ($2.70). Progressive pair Freereturn ($3.70) and Pago Rock ($5) are next in betting with Victoria Handicap runner-up Under The Eiffel a $5.50 chance.