Black Heart Bart is a step closer to making a racetrack return after winning a Cranbourne barrier trial.
The former Darren Weir-trained gelding, who won five Group One races during 2016/17, was officially retired after finishing unplaced in the Toorak Handicap in October.
Lindsay Smith has been tasked with resurrecting his career but first the gelding has had to pass a series of tests.
One of those was to compete in a barrier trial of at least 1000m with Racing Victoria stewards also requiring the results of a full body scan after the trial before they allow Black Heart Bart to race again.
Brad Rawiller, who rode Black Heart Bart in Monday’s 1190m-heat, said he felt great despite not liking the heavy conditions.
“I don’t think you could be more impressed than what he did today,” Rawiller said.
“To be reinstated he needed to do a bit and at the same time he needed that, but it’s the best he’s been since his Group One year.
“For 12 months even though he’d been running well in those good races he probably wasn’t at his best.
“That wasn’t an ordinary trial today and he’s beaten them quite well.”
Another comeback galloper, Gailo Chop, ridden by Mark Zahra, won the opening trial over 1550m with trainer Matthew Williams saying he was on track for a tilt at the Cox Plate at The Valley.
Gailo Chop has not raced since finishing second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April 2018 after which he was sidelined with a tendon injury.
Following 12 months of rehabilitation, Gailo Chop has now had two trials in preparation for his return in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 14.
Williams said Gailo Chop would return to Cranbourne for another trial on September 2.
“Mark knows him really well and he said he felt great and his action was terrific,” Williams said.
“It’s obviously pretty heavy out there and he knocked up in the last little bit but he’ll be back here on September 2 for another 1550-metre trial.
“It will be a pretty solid trial for him again as we’ll be wanting to test him out a bit more and then he’ll be right to kick off in the Makybe Diva at Flemington.”