A one-time Victoria Derby placegetter has made it back to the winner’s circle at Caulfield after an injury-enforced break.
Nozomi, who defeated Preferment in the Geelong Classic before finishing third to that galloper in the 2014 Victoria Derby, outstayed his rivals to take out the Argyle Maintenance Handicap on Saturday.
Providing apprentice Beau Mertens with the second leg of a winning double, Nozomi ($4) scored by a neck from dead-heaters Electric Fusion ($7.50) and Transfer Allowance ($11).
Steve Adams, foreman for the Lee and Anthony Freedman stable, said Nozomi bowed a tendon in a barrier trial when preparing for a three-year-old autumn campaign.
“He had to have a year off,” Adams said.
“We gelded him because he’s a big gross and heavy horse and touch wood he’s all good and we can press on.”
Adams said after Saturday’s win over 1800m, Nozomi was likely to return to Caulfield in two weeks but not for the Caulfield Cup.
He said the stable feels 2000m might now be his preferred trip and the Group Three Priceline Cup would be a suitable assignment.
Mertens captured his first double at Caulfield and first on a Saturday after scoring earlier aboard Lucky Liberty.