Black and Bent will resume his racing career in the $70,000 Country Cup over 2040m at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
It appeared as if the five year old may not race again after injuring a near fore tendon when he was second in a 2500m race at the Valley last year, however trainer Robert Smerdon has nursed the horse back to full health.
Smerdon had also entered Black and Bent in a 1600m event at Moonee Valley, however he has decided that he will start the horse in the 2040m Country Cup.
“Saturday is another step in the road back from an injury and I just thought he’d be run off his legs in the 1600 and he’d probably be better suited to 2000, even though he’s going to need the run,” Smerdon said.
“He’ll settle in the second half of the field and while he’ll probably start to put himself in the race at some point, the 2000 metres will probably find him out. If he was in the finish it would be a pleasant surprise to me.”
Black and Bent should be nearing peak fitness as he has had four barrier trials leading into the event. He has trialled three times over the flat course and also completed a 2400m hurdle trial at Cranbourne on June 9.
It is believed the main goal for Black and Bent will be either the Grand National Hurdle on August 14 or the Houlahan Hurdle a fortnight later.
“We’ll get a guide as to where he is at on Saturday and make our next move from there, but he’s got enough of the jumps season left to get a bit of action at the end of the season.” Smerdon said.
Black and Bent had a wonderful 2010, and was able to string together six straight wins between April and June. What makes the streak even more noteworthy is the fact that of the six races, three were hurdle events, while three were on the flat course.
Smerdon will also has Light Vision listed to return from a long break on Saturday.
“He had a few niggles and it got the point where we weighed up how best to go forward and we decided to give him a long spell, assess him at the end of that and see how he was,” Smerdon said.
“He had five months off and seemed really good, so we went again. He’s been really good through the prep but, again, up in the weights and 1600 first up, I think he’s going to need the outing.”
At this stage it seems as if punters have more faith in the Smerdon runners than the trainer himself. Black and Bent is being kept safe in the Country Cup at $8.00, while Light Vision is currently being quoted at $10.00 in the Geoff Torney Cup.