Trainer Pat Hyland has put aside his worst fears and replaced them with renewed optimism for the spring prospects of highly promising galloper Shanghai Warrior.
After consecutive wins that put Shanghai Warrior among the most promising horses in training, he plummeted from the big-race calculations when he finished near the tail of the field in the Bobbie Lewis Quality at Flemington.
Hyland was so despondent after the race he took the horse straight to a vet.
“I didn’t even wait until I got home, we went straight from the racecourse to the vet,” Hyland said.
The vet found Shanghai Warrior had a lung infection that had produced a large deposit of mucus in the horse’s windpipe.
“He’d gone so bad I thought he may have bled,” he said.
“It was a bit depressing after Flemington because we have a very good opinion of him.”
With the problem behind him Shanghai Warrior will take his place in Sunday’s Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
In the best field he has met in his five-run career, Shanghai Warrior will carry only 52kg.
And on his performance in barrier trail at Cranbourne on Monday, he has a better than an outside chance of getting into the finish.
“This is the race I’d set him for all along and he’s had a pretty good hit out in the trial to get him right for it,” Hyland said.
“All we need is a good barrier.”
Anthony Cummings has entered Strike The Stars in the race for his spring return.
Runner-up to Mosheen in the Australian Guineas, Strike The Stars hasn’t raced since his fourth in the South Australian Derby behind Zabeelionaire, the same position he occupied in the Australian Derby won by Ethiopia.