A change of heart has reaped huge dividends for trainer Terry Brennan and his rejuvenated gelding Cat Five.
Brennan was prepared to pull stumps and call time on Cat Five after the seven-year-old ran an inglorious last in the Collie Cup 12 months ago.
But after consulting with his fellow owners Brennan decided to have more crack with Cat Five and his faith has been restored.
Since April Cat Five has failed to finish out of a top three position, reeling off six wins and three placings from nine starts.
Success has arrived at Leonora and Leinster but Carnarvon and on the Massey Bay circuit is where he has exploded and had the greatest impact.
He has put together a winning sequence of four with his last victory on August 8 the most impressive, demolishing his rivals by 7 ½ lengths.
Brennan can’t pinpoint any reasons for Cat Five’s form turnaround but credits veteran jockey Danny Miller with having a profound impact.
Miller, who at 67 is considered to be the oldest jockey riding in Australia, has formed a potent partnership with Cat Five, combining in four of his past five wins.
“I’m not too sure why the sudden improvement but he was almost out the gate after Collie,” said Brennan.
“I think having Dasher (Miller) on suits him because he has him nice and handy and up near the front somewhere.
“Before that he was running nice races but got too far back and gave them a start before running and finishing off well.
“I can’t take any of the credit and I think it all goes down to Danny who has built up a good association with the horse.”
Cat’s Five’s amazing form turnaround has thrust him into serious contention for next fortnight’s XXXX-Gold Carnarvon Cup (2000m)
The son of One Cool Cat can cement a start when he tackles a strong line up in the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap (1700m) on Friday.
The field of 13 starters is headed by top weight, Full Steam Ahead, from the Noel Pateman camp, who will carry 60.5kg.
The Trade Fair gelding is on the comeback from a throat operation and is working his way back to fitness after two Belmont runs.
Also resuming is talented staying prospect Maybe Next Year, but the five-year-old could be in the need of the run after a long spell.
Wayside has to make up significant ground on Cat Five but he gains a weight swing in his favour.
Brennan says Cat Five is on target for the Carnarvon Cup but admits there is a slight query hanging over his head.
“You have it consider the Carnarvon Cup the way he is going,” said Brennan.
“My only doubt is the trip because he has yet to prove it.
“Friday will give me a better gauge.”
Cat Five’s overall record stands at nine wins from 53 starts but he has yet to win beyond a mile.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli