Greg Hickman felt a sense of achievement when comeback galloper Definite Choice returned a winner last month and is hopeful of continuing on from that at Rosehill on Saturday.
Definite Choice returned from a tendon injury and 16 months on the sidelines to win over 1400m at Warwick Farm on September 18 and lines up again in the WN Bull Funerals Handicap (1300m).
Among his rivals will be the up-and-coming Lightinthenite who maintained his unbeaten record from three starts with an impressive first-up performance under lights at Canterbury on September 23.
“There’s probably two or three chances in the race but I’m happy with our bloke,” Hickman, who trains Definite Choice at Warwick Farm, said.
“I’m confident on what work he has done, he has worked as well as he has before but it’s not an easy race.”
Definite Choice showed promise as a young horse with a fourth in the 2009 Group One Spring Champion Stakes.
He was being aimed at the Queensland Derby last year when he suffered the tendon injury.
Hickman had the gelding ready to produce first-up from the long lay-off and Hugh Bowman steered the son of Redoute’s Choice to a narrow but impressive victory.
“The horse has ability and we gave him two trials leading into that,” Hickman said.
“We were all reasonably confident he would run well, the second horse (Bellissimo) gave him a bit of a run for his money, but this horse can gallop and it’s just a shame he had the injury because he raced against better-class horses than this before.
“It’s nice to have him back and it was a sense of achievement in getting him back to win.”
The five-year-old will be ridden by apprentice Blake Spriggs, who claims 1.5kg, on Saturday and Hickman has given the gelding three weeks between starts with a slight drop in distance.
The trainer said he preferred to keep Definite Choice in Sydney rather than look at anything in Melbourne this spring.
“We’ll keep him here and look after him,” he said.
“I’m quite happy to poke along in Sydney and try to win a few races here.”
The John O’Shea-trained Lightinthenite was the $2.30 favourite with TAB Sportsbet on Friday with Definite Choice next in line at $6.50.