As Gai Waterhouse fine tunes her Cox Plate three-year-olds Almalad and Wandjina, an almost forgotten Tulloch Lodge star is ready to make a comeback after a throat surgery.
Spurtonic, a winner on the Caulfield Cup undercard last year, has been cleared to start a spring and summer campaign at Rosehill on Saturday that has the Villiers Stakes as a primary target.
The five-year-old is one of nine entries for the Filante Handicap and Waterhouse will use her apprentice Winona Costin’s 2kg claim after Spurtonic received 57.5kg.
It will be his first start since the autumn when his miserable return run in the Liverpool City Cup convinced the Waterhouse team he was nowhere near the form that made him one of the most promising middle-distances horses in the stable.
In his run through the classes, Spurtonic ran second to subsequent Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur, defeated this year’s Group One Metropolitan winner Junoob and led all the way to land the Group Three David Jones Cup.
“When he came back into work in the autumn he wasn’t going well and that’s when we discovered he had a bit of a throat problem,” Tulloch Lodge spokesman Mark Newnham said.
Spurtonic has been to the barrier trials twice in preparation for Saturday, the most recent when he brushed home from last to finish on the heels of the placegetters over 1200m at Randwick.
“We probably would have preferred for him to have a better opportunity to have a better hit-out than that because he ran out of room in the straight,” Newnham said.
“He’ll certainly improve but he’s got to get up and going now because he’s had a long time off.”
Aomen, a first-up winner for Anthony Cummings after coming from Hong Kong and recovering from injury, has been given 62kg against Spurtonic as he tries to confirm Emirates Stakes plans.
But Cummings has decided not to claim, sticking with in-form senior jockey Blake Shinn who rode Aomen when the seven-year-old carried 60.5kg to beat Monton and Charlie Boy over 1400m at Randwick on October 11.