Trainer David Payne has revealed talented sprinter Rock Hero has returned to work ahead of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, having recovered from a wind operation required as a result of breathing issues that hampered his autumn preparation.
Running a competitive second to Thunder Fantasy in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) first-up on February 8th, Rock Hero was disappointing when 10th in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, however was later found to have been suffering from respiratory problems.
Requiring surgery to right the issues, Payne said the Fastnet Rock colt is now fighting fit and has taken well to work in recent weeks.
“Rock Hero had a wind operation, so he has been back in work for a couple of weeks,” Payne told Racing Ahead.
“Once they become roarers, you always have a little bit of a setback and you always wonder if they will come back as good.
“It develops over time and it just gets worse.
“We will just have to wait and see.
“He is breathing well now, we monitor him while he is working, but you have to stretch them.”
Yet to confirm a path for Rock Hero during the carnival, Payne said the three-year-olds form and strength will dictate whether or not a trip to Melbourne is warranted.
“I will probably keep him in Sydney for the first part of the season and if he steps up I will take him to Melbourne,” Payne said.
“It all depends on how he shapes up.”
Claiming two wins and three minor places from just eight competitive race starts to date, Rock Hero was a standout performer over his maiden racing preparation in the spring of 2013; claiming back-to-back victories against classy competition in the Australian Turf Club 3.y.o (1550m) and Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) before finishing mid-pack in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) most notably on October 12th.
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