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Matthew Vella has identified the Queensland Derby as the long-term aim for Blaze A Trail and he is looking for signs he’s on track for that mission when he returns to racing at Rosehill on Saturday.

Blaze A Trail will resume over 1300 metres in the Benchmark 72 over 1300 metres.

The son of four-time Group One-winning galloper Criterion missed the spring due to a virus and having jarred up.

Vella said he’d done very well during his break and he couldn’t be happier with the horse’s lead-up to returning.

“We are looking forward to getting him back to the track on Saturday. He’s now a powerful, big bully,” Vella said.

Vella said the three-year-old colt had been tuned up for a comeback to racing with two excellent Randwick trials, both with premier jockey James McDonald in the saddle.

“He’d probably have to be at his best to win over 1300 metres in that company but he’ll run well,” Vella said.

“He looks like he will get to 2000 metres and beyond and with his speed and turn of foot, it’s a big plus.

“We are looking towards the Queensland Derby but there’s a lot that needs to go right,” he said.

Rachel King is booked for Blaze A Trail as James McDonald will be chasing the riches on offer at the Gold Coast Magic Millions meeting.

Vella has garnered a reputation for his breaking and pre-training abilities but the 29-year-old Hawkesbury local also trains a small team for eminent owners Sir Owen Glenn and Hong Kong businessman Bon Ho.

New Zealand entrepreneur Sir Owen Glenn raced Australian Derby winner Criterion who was a Group-Two winner as a two-year-old and went on to be victorious at the elite level in every subsequent year of his career.

The $7 million prize-money winning son of Sebring was sent to stud at Newgate Farm in 2016 with much fanfare but proved to have fertility issues and Blaze A Trail is among only a few of the stallion’s progeny to make it to the track.

Vella said Sir Owen Glen was very keen to keep the family going and is hoping Blaze A Trail can pick up some black-type to improve his stallion prospects.

Vella also has the Bon Ho-owned Sniper Legend nominated in the two-year-old handicap but indicated the son of Golden Slipper winner Capitalist would probably be saved for an easier race.

Bon Ho won the 2020 The Everest with Classique Legend, which Vella had earlier been preparing to send to Hong Kong.

“I had the horse broken in, pre-trained and ready to go to Hong Kong, then COVID struck, he remained in Australia and the rest is history” Vella said.

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