Things did not pan out how Tony McEvoy had hoped with Mintha in the mare’s spring return but the trainer expects a more prominent showing from the four-year-old at Moonee Valley.
Mintha resumed in the Summoned Stakes (1500m) at Sandown on November 17, her first start since winning the Rivette Series Final at Flemington in early July, but could only manage a midfield finish in the Group Three race.
While McEvoy described the performance as “a bit plain” the trainer believes the tempo of the race dulled the mare’s finish and expects she can bounce back strongly on Saturday in the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (1600m).
“They went hard in that Summoned Stakes and just being first-up it just took the sprint out of her and she whacked away,” McEvoy said.
“Back into this (benchmark-84) grade and with that run under her belt I am expecting good improvement.
“The mare is in fantastic order and I think she’s going as good as ever.
“That’s why I ran her in the Summoned which was a pretty aggressive placement first-up.
“She didn’t quite run to what I expected that day but she’s going very well.”
Having chimed in at the tail end of the spring, McEvoy said Mintha might only have a couple of runs before attention turns to autumn.
“I just want to get her back winning and then I’ll plan an autumn for her,” McEvoy said.
McEvoy also has three-year-old filly Al Naifa dropping in grade second-up in Saturday’s Keller Handicap (1200m) after finishing eighth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Group Three Red Roses (1100m) at Flemington in her return from a spell.
Al Naifa was the only filly to race down the rail side in the Red Roses on the straight course.
“I elected to go to the fence and no-one came with us,” McEvoy said.
“She was there on her own and she ran enormous.
“She looked the winner at the 100-metre mark and still ran close-up.
“She has trained on well.”