Brett Scott won’t claim to have successfully rehabilitated Stratcombe until he sees him run at Sandown on Saturday.
The Mornington-based horseman has spent the past four months working on Stratcombe’s aerobic capacity after a lung infection stopped his career in March 2013.
Clients of Scott bought Stratcombe privately after the son of Stratum won six of his 17 starts for the Mick Price stable.
Scott instantly knew he faced a tough task to get the gelding back to the races, even though the horse had recovered from the problem.
The trainer says boosting Stratcombe’s lost lung capacity has been difficult but he finally has the six-year-old ready to resume in the Listed City of Greater Dandenong Stakes (1200m) at Sandown.
“He had scarring on his lungs when they were exerted and put under pressure,” Scott said.
“Sometimes they can’t get as much oxygen through their lungs.
“We are just trying to get his lungs to take in as much oxygen as possible.”
Scott conceded Stratcombe might never recapture his best form but he would be happy if he could return well enough to warrant a tilt at the Listed Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool in May.
Dale Smith will reunite with Stratcombe at Sandown having ridden him twice before, including to his maiden win at Wangaratta in 2011.
Bookmakers have installed Pago Rock favourite at $4.60 ahead of Ready To Rip and Office Bearer at $5.50 with Stratcombe a $21 chance to score first-up.
Scott will also run developing mare Coronation Shallan in the Group Two Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Coronation Shallan ran third to Sistine Demon in Listed company at her last start but Scott said he was keen to test the four-year-old over 1600 metres ahead of a possible start in the Group One Queen Of The Turf Stakes over the same distance at Randwick on April 19.