After overcoming a hoof injury during their summer spell, Australian Derby winner Ethiopia is about to begin serious preparations for an ambitious first-up run in the Doncaster Mile 2013 at the end of April during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The exciting Helenus gelding proved a genuine champion during their three-year-old season running top three in their opening three starts before scoring an elite level last autumn with a tight victory in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
They came back in the spring racing in Melbourne and had a campaign of mixed results.
The highlight was their good fourth to weight-for-age stars Ocean Park, All Too Hard and Pierro in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
After that eye-catching run Ethiopia was stepped up to two miles for the iconic Melbourne Cup but were pulled up over the final 600m by jockey Rhys McLeond during the run and finished dead last some 63 lengths behind the winner Green Moon.
It has been a lengthy recovery process for the now four-year-old since then, Ethiopia having spent much of that time in WA with owners Trevor and Terri Deloray at their Yallingup stud far, with the horse found to be suffering acute soreness in his hindquarters and hoof.
They will return to the Mornington stables of trainer Pat Carey at the end of next week however as they get ready for a surprise shot at the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20.
“We’ll go to Sydney if we can,” Delroy said.
“The damage is largely repaired but he will always need careful maintenance.
“He has thin souls and his hoof geometry is not the best.”
In the futures Doncaster Mile betting markets Ethiopia is rated a $34 chance with Cox Plate third placegetter Pierro topping the odds at a current quote of $7.50.
Much of Ethiopia’s work will now be focused on swimming and being at the beach to help keep them fit and happy without putting too much pressure on their sensitive areas.
“He is a big horse and we need to change our training to a lot more beach work,” Delroy said.
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