Melbourne Racing
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07: Jockey Craig Williams rides Vow And Declare to the start before placing 3rd in race 8 the Australian Cup during Melbourne Racing at Flemington Racecourse on March 07, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow and Declare made his return to the track on Monday morning.

Vow and Declare ran in a 1200m trial with Craig Williams on board. Williams eased his mount through most of the trial before asking for a bit of effort in the final stages.

Vow and declare is a notoriously average trial runner but impressed this time out.

Trainer Danny O’Brien spoke about the return of Vow and Declare as he prepares an assault on the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

“Vow is not a horse that ever trials that flash, but we were particularly happy with him this morning,” trainer Danny O’Brien told racing.com.

“He had a good, strong gallop, there was a leader in the heat that made them run along at a solid enough clip and Vow followed him though and drew away into second position at the end of the 1200m.

“The horse is in great shape, he’s had a lovely winter down at Thirteenth Beach and he’s got really good base fitness.

“A strong gallop like this will really bring him on.”

O’Brien had another trial runner on Monday, with Melbourne Cup favourite Russian Camelot restarting his campaign.

Russian Camelot won Heat 9 and recorded a time of 1:12.70.

“We’re very happy with him,” O’Brien said.

“We were hoping that there would be a bit of tempo in his heat so that he could fall back a bit.

“But they went particularly slowly, and he was right up on the speed the whole trial.

“Damien Oliver slipped him a little bit of rein late and let him stretch his legs and he went through his gears nicely and had a nice gallop on what is a beautiful surface.

“Damien reported back that he was very happy with him, he said he thought he was a bit above himself and very fresh, which is to be expected, he’s a colt and he’s in great shape physically.

“He was really pleased with the feel he got from him this morning.

“Both Russian and Vow can only really trial on a big track, where there’s plenty of room for them to get through their gears, so we’ll probably just give them another racecourse gallop and we may not see them at the trials again.

“They’ll likely head straight to the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m on September 12).”