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Warwick Farm trainer Rick Worthington is happy with the condition of his veteran galloper Whitefriars as they prepare to race for the first time in 11 months having been accepted for Saturday’s 2012 Razor Sharp Handicap.
The seven-year-old Arena gelding was last seen scoring their second Group 2 title back in January when narrowly holding on to defeat Undeniably in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The honest sprinter finally makes their return at Warwick Farm on the weekend, Whitefriars one of 11 acceptors for the $100,000 Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m), after undergoing two throat operations over the year as well as battling a serious bout of pneumonia.
Drawn in gate seven with Jim Cassidy booked for the ride the old warhorse will have to be at their best however as they have been slapped with the 61.5kg top-weight.
Worthington however believes they have the class to overcome the kilos and are spot on for their first-up run after successive barrier trial wins at the track over 800m last month.
There is still a chance that Worthington, battling his own health issues at the moment, will save Whitefriars for the $100,000 Listed Carrington Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm on New Year’s Day.
“I don’t want to lose the plot in the last week by making a rash decision and then the horse paying the price because of it,” he said.
“It’s been a very long process getting him back.
“But as far as the horse is concerned, I’m very happy with him.”
A first-up win in either race from Whitefriars would be just the reward Worthington needs as he recovers from two operations for a cancerous melanoma.
“The first operation wasn’t successful so two weeks ago we had round two,” Worthington said.
“They took out approximately 30 lymph glands and one of the deep muscles in my neck, and I’m working on the assumption now that when the pathology comes back that we’ll hopefully have the all clear.
“My whole philosophy about this is, when you go in to visit the areas that I’ve been to for my treatments I figure I’m pretty lucky because you see people that are on death’s door.
“So I have no complaints other than let’s just get on with it.”
Other notable hopefuls in the 2012 Razor Sharp Handicap field this year include Peter Snowden’s Lonhro seven-year-old Skytrain drawn on the rails in barrier one for their first run since August, the Desleigh Forster-trained Brisbane raider Adebisi also drawn nicely in gate three and the Chris Waller-trained Riva De Lago with Corey Brown to ride from barrier five.
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