Both Darren McAuliffe and his gun sprinter, Rebel King, are fit, refreshed and charged to tackle the Beaufine Stakes (1000m) at Belmont on Saturday.
McAuliffe is raring to get back into feature race action after missing Fuchsia Bandana winning the Hyperion Stakes (1600m)-Strickland Stakes (2000m) double.
The hard working trainer took a rare opportunity out of his hectic schedule to recharge the batteries, enjoying a three week vacation in Europe.
Rebel King on the other hand is itching to land the most significant win of his career and cement a reputation as one of WA racings up and coming sprinters.
The Universal Ruler gelding was a star at Belmont Park 12-months ago, setting winter headquarters alight with a flawless four win campaign.
However; his form since returning in April has not quite lived up to expected heights, posting one win and four placings from five starts.
It included a third to Sujet three weeks ago, but McAuliffe believes there may have been excuses for his defeat and is looking for improvement.
“I was listening to the race on the steps of the Vatican and to me it sounded like a flat run,” said McAuliffe on TAB Radio.
“I don’t know if he was racing with it but after a couple of days in the paddock he pulled up lame with a foot abscess.
“I don’t know whether that might have taken the edge out of his performance but to me it looked as though he was flat.
“I’ve sort of held him back from taking this next step into all aged stakes company but I think he is ready for it.
“His work has been good, I’m happy with how he presented on my return and if he is good enough he will get the job done.”
Budding apprentice, Jordan Turner, retains the ride on Rebel King and jumps from a perfect position in barrier five.
McAuliffe says in the in-form youngster deserves an opportunity of gaining the biggest win of his short career.
“I’m very happy to have Jordan on and he is an incredible talent,” said McAuliffe.
“I think the world is his oyster quite frankly.
“The thing that is going to take him to the next level is experience.
“In my opinion he is already at the elite level with the skill sets he has.
“He is doing a tremendous job and I’m more than happy to have him riding for the stable.”
Rebel King heads TAB betting at $2.70. Rock Magic is next, firming from $5.50 into $5.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli