A horse many thought would never race again has emerged as the leading contender in a depleted spring carnival team for Anthony Cummings.
A bowed tendon ended Aomen’s Hong Kong career which included a half length second to multiple Group One winner Military Attack in March last year.
After a long rehabilitation in Australia, the seven-year-old returned to racing last Saturday week and led all the way to win a 1400m race at Randwick under 60.5kg.
He steps up to 1500 metres at Rosehill on Saturday and, all going well, will compete in the Group One Emirates Stakes two weeks later.
A virus which affected many Sydney stables in the early spring had its impact on the Cummings yard at Randwick and also his Caulfield base where Oaks hopefuls High Above and Miss Interiors were housed.
“High Above still has some mucus present so she is off to the paddock,” Cummings said.
“Miss Interiors has scoped clear so she will gallop at Moonee Valley in the morning and we will see how she is after that and how we get to the Oaks.
“Villa Verde is also in the paddock and it looks like Aomen is the main hope for a Group One.”
Miss Interiors will either race in the Vase at the Valley on Saturday or wait for the Wakeful Stakes a week later as a lead-up to the VRC Oaks.
Aomen’s owner sent the gelding to Cummings in part as a replacement for Thunder Fantasy who will do his future racing in Hong Kong.
Thunder Fantasy ran third in the 2013 Victoria Derby and was also placed twice at Group One level in the autumn when third in the Australian Guineas and second in the Rosehill Guineas.
Aomen was understandably a little worked up before his Randwick start but the trainer said he had come through the race well both physically and mentally.
“He was a bit nervous which is to be expected after so long away. But it was a positive experience for him,” Cummings said.
Aoemen beat Monton by half a length at Randwick giving him 2-1/2 kilos and was the highest rated horse in the nine nominations taken on Monday for the Filante Handicap.