Hardline has made a triumphant return to the track with a soft win at the Sunshine Coast.
The winner of New Zealand’s richest race, the $1 million Karaka Million in January, Hardline underwent minor knee surgery after that victory.
Trainer Liam Birchley chose to race him in Sunday’s benchmark race in preference to a sprint at Doomben a day earlier, believing the Sunshine Coast would be more forgiving.
Sent out odds-on, Hardline went to the line under a hold from Damian Browne, cruising to a three-quarter length win over State Of Wealth.
Birchley said he would probably give Hardline another start in Queensland before considering loftier options interstate.
“I’m just glad to see him do what I thought he would,” Birchley told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“I’m happy to stay up here with him for one more run and then we can look at going south.”