Darren Bell is looking to cement his comeback from a four-month enforced break when Eight’s A Party runs at Doomben.
Eight’s A Party will be Bell’s first city runner since he was forced to close his stable late last year because of a strangles outbreak.
The trainer had runners at Caloundra on Wednesday which were his first since December 17 with Misery winning and Silver Fox a close second.
Eight’s A Party, who is a noted fresh performer, will be having his first start since October when he tackles Saturday’s Sky Central Open Hcp (1350m).
Bell has kept his faith in the seven-year-old but even his patience has been tested as Eight’s A Party, despite winning seven races, has never fully lived up to his potential.
“I have to be frank and say I was disappointed in him last campaign. But I have been able to give him a long build-up and two jump-outs in the lead-up to this race,” Bell said.
“He looks great and I don’t think I have ever had him going as well. But he is a seven-year-old now and it is starting to get a bit late for the horse to fulfil his potential.”
“I just want to see him race well Saturday and then we can start talking about something better for him.”
Bell discovered a case of the contagious respiratory infection strangles in his stables in December last year and stewards quarantined his two barns at Caboolture.
Only four of his 22 horses had strangles and all were in one barn but stewards closed down his entire operation.
It has cost Bell an estimated $100,000 and he is certain things could have been handled better.
“If the same thing happened in the Eagle Farm stabling complex the entire industry would grind to a halt under RQ’s current methods,” he said.
“There was a review of my case but not much seems to have come out of it.”
Bell said his owners had been loyal with only one horse switched to another trainer.
“Now it is a matter of getting back to the winner’s stall as often as possible,” Bell said.