Four-time Golden Slipper-winning trainer Clarry Conners admitted to a few pre-race nerves before Decision Time’s winning return in the Group Three Concorde Stakes at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
The normally unflappable Conners said it had taken so much time and effort to get the four-year-old to the races in one piece that he was anxious to see Decision Time perform.
“I was a bit nervous before today, it took me more than six months to get him ready for today but it was worth it,” Conners said.
“He is a nice little horse.”
Decision Time finished second in Crystal Lily’s Golden Slipper and appeared set to continue that form into his three-year-old season when he scored back-to-back wins in the Heritage and Stan Fox Stakes in September last year.
But he bled in the latter, incurring an automatic three-month ban, and returned in February to win at Listed level before suffering a shoulder muscle injury that put paid to autumn plans.
He was then plagued by feet problems, although most were self-inflicted.
“He pulled his heels off,” Conners said.
“He just walks along and trips … he’s just lazy I think.
“But we had to give him time out and get him right.
“He’s not a superstar but he is all heart. He’s a quiet achiever, like his trainer.”
Decision Time ($4.80) camped off the speed set by Zaratone in Saturday’s 1100-metre race and finished strongly out wide to relegate Winter King ($3.70 fav) to second for the third consecutive time this campaign.
He scored by three-quarters of a length with Monton ($13), having his first start for new trainer Ron Quinton, the same margin away third.
Jockey Corey Brown said he was concerned when Decision Time appeared to stroll to the barriers but knew once he was in them he was ready to run.
“From his two trials I was a bit worried going around to the barriers today, he just loafed around, but before his trials he pulled me around to the start,” Brown said.
“As soon as the gates shut you could feel him turn on and “ark” up.
“He got there too soon but managed to hold them off.”
Decision Time and Winter King are set for a rematch in two weeks with both headed towards The Shorts (1200m).