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Fully recovered from a back injury, Prince Cheri commences a campaign at Moonee Valley that his trainer hopes will lead to a start in the Caulfield Cup.

Prince Cheri will line-up in the Craig Opie Cup (1600m) on Saturday, a race trainer David Vandyke said could shape the stayer’s spring.

The French import was taken to Moonee Valley on Tuesday for a familiarisation gallop under Damien Oliver who has the ride on Saturday.

Prince Cheri galloped over 1200m, running 1min21.42secs, coming home the last 400m in 24.27sec in a hit-out Vandyke said was one of his better gallops.

“He’s never been a flash trackworker,” Vandyke said.

“Damien rode him and said he was a little lost turning but when he straightened he picked up nicely.”

Prince Cheri was in the market for the Caulfield Cup two years ago before injury took its toll.

He had won the Kingston Town Stakes at Rosehill before running sixth in The Metropolitan.

Prince Cheri returned the following autumn with two disappointing efforts and a fourth in the Scone Cup before he was off the scene after having spine surgery.

“It’s been successful and he’s 100 per cent,” Vandyke said.

Prince Cheri returned to racing in June, running fourth in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup and has since had two barrier trials to have him fit for Saturday’s race after which he will head to the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield on September 19.

Vandyke said he had the seven-year-old where he wanted him leading into the spring.

“If he runs well at Moonee Valley we’ll be straight to the Naturalism and if he wins that it will have us exempt for the Caulfield Cup,” Vandyke said.

“We’re down here for the big time and so far so good.”

 
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