The Virginian takes an important step to a second attempt to win the Group One Stradbroke Handicap when he returns to racing at Doomben.
The Virginian will make his much anticipated return to racing in Saturday’s Listed Chief De Beers Stakes (1050m).
Trainer Toby Edmonds surprised many when he accepted with The Virginian in the Stradbroke last year after the gelding won a Class One race at the Gold Coast at his previous start.
Edmonds had the last laugh when The Virginian ran third at $101 behind classy sprinters Under the Louvre and Black Heart Bart.
In the spring, Edmonds took The Virginian to Melbourne where he had two starts, finishing just behind the placegetters.
“He had some knee problems so we brought him home and gave him a good long spell,” Edmonds said.
The Virginian has had two trials in the build-up to his return, winning the most recent at Deagon by three lengths on May 9.
“This will be his first test and he will start wet or fine. We are keen to get him into the Stradbroke again so he will have to start somewhere,” Edmonds said.
The Virginian is one of several horses Edmonds trains for well known breeder Stu Ramsay.
Jeff Lloyd rode The Virginian in his trials but Jim Byrne will have the ride on Saturday.
Lloyd will ride Edmonds’ other Chief De Beers runner Prompt Return who was a brilliant last-start Gold Coast winner over 900m.
“He broke 32 seconds for the last 600 metres in that win so if does that again he will be hard to beat,” Edmonds said.