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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
It has been a long and winding road back to the races for Golden Rose placegetter Coastwatch

A failed stint in Hong Kong and a couple of injury setbacks kept Coastwatch sidelined for almost two years, but his new trainers are optimistic the Group 1 placegetter is on the verge of resurrecting his form.

Coastwatch won two Group races during his three-year-old season and placed in the 202 Golden Rose before being sold to Hong Kong interests.

However, he returned to Australia last winter without having raced there then suffered a minor injury that further delayed his comeback.

“He’s had an unfortunate run,” co-trainer Will Freedman said.

“He went to Hong Kong then came back and got another injury.

“It has taken a while to get him to this point and his owners have been very patient, but they’re starting to reap the rewards.

“He was a highly rated horse before he came to us and hopefully he can recapture that form.”

Coastwatch has been working his way back to fitness through a combination of barrier trials and races.

His best run was his most recent when he loomed up to win over 1400m at Hawkesbury and went down fighting, finishing a close fourth to Rise Of The Masses.

He returns to black type company in Saturday’s Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone and Will Freedman is expecting a competitive showing from his inside draw.

“He wants to be there, he just needs to get hard-fit and when you’ve had two years off, you’re a bit soft,” Freedman said.

“He’s starting to get closer and he’s going well.”

Sara Ryan is facing a different kind of conundrum with rival runner Much Much Better, who has drawn barrier 19 but has few other short-term options if he doesn’t go around.

She is hoping to get him to the Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) on June 1 and sees the Luskin Star Stakes as an ideal lead-up.

“He’s nominated for that and that was the plan,” Ryan said.

“This race was going to get him there, otherwise he’s going to have to go into that second-up and four weeks between runs.

“But that’s not unheard of for him, he’s a weapon when he’s fresh.”

Ryan will wait until race morning to decide whether to run Much Much Better from his outside draw.

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