Part of trainer Rick Worthington is bubbling with excitement after comeback sprinter Whitefriars impressed in another barrier trial win on Thursday.
The other part, however, remains cautious as he plots a return for the seven-year-old gelding who hasn’t raced since taking out the Group Two Australia Stakes in January 2011.
Whitefriars contracted pneumonia after his Australia Stakes win and since then has also had two separate throat operations.
“So even though part of me is bubbling with excitement, the other part is realistic in saying, `we’ve just got to go steady, steady’,” Worthington said on Thursday.
Whitefriars strode to a 2-1/2-length trial win over 800m at Warwick Farm in slick time.
It was his second trial win this month.
“I’m very happy with his trial. He ran 46 (seconds) even, he was seven and eight-wide all the way on the bit and travelling within himself,” Worthington said.
“It’s another positive step forward. We’re not there yet so I’m trying not to get carried away with myself, although part of me is very excited because we all know what the horse is capable of.”
The Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) on December 22 or the Carrington Stakes (1100m) on January 1 are the options for the sprinter’s return.
Worthington said he was still weighing up which race would be more suitable.
“Both of those are possibly not ideal races but he has to have a run here in Sydney before I take him anywhere,” the trainer said.
“I wouldn’t want to send him interstate until I’ve had a good look at him at the sports and made sure he’s back.”
Worthington said another crack at the Group Two Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley (1200m) was on the radar should he head interstate after his first-up assignment.