One race at a time is a term often used in racing.
Cranbourne trainer Enver Jusufovic can look no further than the Jockey Celebration Day Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
O’Malley is making a long-awaited return from injury having not raced since February last year when seventh in a 1000m race at Sandown.
As Jusufovic was preparing O’Malley for a late winter shot at races like the Sir John Monash Stakes and Bletchingly Stakes last year, the gelding suffered a fracture to his off-side knee.
After he had two screws inserted, veterinary opinion was that O’Malley was only a 50-50 chance to make it back to the track.
Jusufovic persevered, although there were concerns along the way.
O’Malley nearly drowned in the Cranbourne horse pool and has since been barred from swimming while Jusufovic thought he’d gone amiss while working on the synthetic track one morning.
“I restricted his work to pace work and the rider pulled him up at the 200 metres and walked him back,” Jusufovic said.
“I thought he was gone, but by the afternoon he had improved and an x-ray showed he was all OK.”
Jusufovic progressed O’Malley’s preparation with a trip to Wangaratta where he won a 900m trial on heavy ground early last month.
He has since come through a Cranbourne jump-out in good order and now Jusufovic is looking forward to his race return on Saturday.
“The straight run will be beneficial,” he said.
“It’s a big field and a nice race to kick off.
“He’s done a power of work, but just match fitness may be lacking.”
Jusufovic would like nothing more than to aim the gelding at the richer spring sprint races.
“The reality of it is he’s a race by race proposition,” Jusufovic said.
“I’d love to have pie-in-the-sky type dreams, but we’ll just take one race at a time.”