Last year’s Victoria Derby champion Lion Tamer could be back on the Australian racing scene in a little over a month with the 2011 Cox Plate the number one goal for the Melbourne spring racing carnival..
The New Zealand based horse hasn’t had a race since he destroyed his rivals in the 2010 Victoria Derby winning his first Aussie Group 1 in the process.
He is finally back on track with stable mate Harris Tweed after the two horses have had a pretty hard time of it in 2011 along with trainer Murray Baker.
Harris Tweed almost gave Baker double Group 1 success in 2010 when he finished second in the Caulfield Cup.
Following that he was valiant in coming home fifth in the 2010 Melbourne Cup.
He too has had a long layoff since that run, he started just once over the Autumn before undergoing surgery for a breathing problem.
They will have a trial over 1000m at Cambridge tomorrow, a crucial test to see how well they’ve recovered.
Don’t expect too much though as they’ll be far form 100 percent, it’s more a chance to blow out the cobwebs with an full scale race comeback not expected until late August.
As mentioned earlier for Lion Tamer a Group 1 weight for age assignment awaits him in the Cox Plate.
He has already shown the boutique Moonee Valley circuit won’t worry him though, he ran second in the AAMI Vase there last year the start before his Derby win.
The colt is undoubtedly destined for a career at stud so an extra couple of Group 1 wins in Australia over the spring will provide a big boost for his value and potentially even wind up his racing career.
Things weren’t looking good a few months ago when Lion Tamer suffered quite a nasty injury.
“He cut his leg quite badly in a stable accident early this year. The wound was at the back of the hock and couldn’t be stitched,” Baker said.
“We had to bandage the leg heavily and keep him boxed for five weeks.
Things have progressed well though and there are no excuses for anything less than a repeat of last year’s heroics.
“The horse is perfect now and he looks fantastic,” Baker said.
“I think he is set for a very good campaign.”
At this stage there are a couple of options for his first up run, one is in Australia in a race like the Group 2 Memsie Stakes, the other is to stay at home and contest a Group 1 at Hastings.
Harris Tweed is likely to follow the same path as last year leading into the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.
He’s also recovered well from his operation and not far off his first up run.
It was an identical operation to that of So You Think and was even performed by the same surgeon, Jonathan Lumsden.
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