Former boom juvenile Wilander will make his competitive return to racing this weekend after spending nearly two years at stud.
Wilander, who is now trained by David Hayes, will race for the first time in almost two years when he lines up in the 1000m TCL Electronics Plate at Flemington tomorrow.
In his time at Stud the former Lee Freedman trained horse served some 55 mares before connections of the horse discovered that he was infertile.
When he was retired from racing the first time round he was sold by the Freedman team to a syndicate led by David Hayes’ nephew Sam. After the horse was found to be infertile, the syndicate re-purchased the horse from insurers with the intent to bring him back to the track.
Wilander burst onto the racing scene as a two year old, impressively winning his first two starts, one of which was the Blue Diamond Prelude. He then started favourite for the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes, however he failed to fire and finished tenth behind Reaan.
Wilander’s other feature wins came in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes and the listed Bob Hoysted Handicap.
There have been horses in the past who have returned from brief careers at stud to the race track. The most notable would probably be Daybreak Lover, who won the Stradbroke Handicap in 1984. He was then retired to stud, however he could not produce at Stud and his connections decided to set him for the 1986 Stradbroke, which he won.
Hayes will be doing his utmost to forget what happened last time he decided to bring a horse out of retirement. Early in 2010 Hayes decided to bring Our Aqaleem out to Australia to race, despite the fact two and a half years had passed since the horse had last raced. The horse had to be put down after injuring a shoulder in its only Australian start.
“It was obviously tougher for a horse like Our Aqaleem. But for a free running horse like Wilander, the long break shouldn’t be as difficult for him to overcome,” Hayes said.
“It’s easy to see that he is a very smart horse. He’s just been given a normal sprint preparation up at Euroa after he was gelded and given three months off. I’d say he’d be better off at his third run back but he is really well, so it’s not out of the question that he could perform well fist up.”
Wilander has been hit with 59kg for the 1000m handicap, although he will be helped by the fact that he will have two kilo claimer Adam McCabe on his back.
Wilander is currently being quoted at $9.00 for the race, while Definitely Ready and Warm Love are equal favourites for the race at $3.20, although it remains unclear as to whether Warm Love will take up her place in the field.