The shoe finally fits, so Brenden Mackay can dream of a Cinderella type ending when Nardoo makes her comeback at Rosehill.
More than a year after the talented mare was supposed to resume racing, just making the barriers on Saturday represents a win for the patient Grafton-based trainer.
The five-year-old was spelled in October, 2015 and was meant to return the following autumn until her front feet thwarted those plans.
Her navicular bones were out of alignment so a step-by-step remedial process was required..
“We had to be really patient, with the navicular you can’t push angles or force angles to come right,” Mackay said.
“You’ve got to keep shoeing to the degrees the feet need.
“There were a couple of days I honestly questioned what we were doing, times when her feet weren’t progressing like we’d hoped.”
Fortunately the therapeutic expertise of veterinarians Alan Giles and Charlie McCormack paid dividends. Farriers Mark O’Leary and Chris Stibbard also played a crucial role.
Eventually Nardoo, who has won three of her seven starts since her debut at Doomben in January 2015, looked comfortable upright and was brought back into work.
A jump-out on her home track was encouraging and then Mackay put her in a barrier trial at Coffs Harbour on April 15.
“She trialled comfortably and here we are,” he said, ahead of Nardoo’s run in a benchmark 78 handicap (1100m).
“The story is really about all the support we’ve had for her from people in the industry that are close to us.
“We’re not first-up at Taree over 1100 metres after 500 days, we’re first up at Rosehill on a Saturday – but this is her class.
“We’ll get this run out of the road and evaluate how she performs. If we get the right conditions, she’s definitely a stakes grade mare.”
Mackay has just two horses in work and hopes to expand his operation despite the frustrations associated with Nardoo.