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Connections of the David Hayes-trained import Crackerjack King are eager for their approaching return ahead of a possible Cox Plate 2014 run this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Hayes has been playing it safe with the Shamardal stallion who he has earmarked for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), markets for which are now open at Ladbrokes.com.au, at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Crackerjack has spent nearly two years sidelined with tendon injuries, twelve months of that spent in Australia with Hayes.
Lightly raced because of that, the six-year-old grey has had just 10 starts for an encouraging seven wins.
Formerly prepared by Marco Botti, in Italy the horse won their opening four career starts back in 2010-11 including a Group 2 Italian Derby over 2211m in Rome where they defeated subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe champ Danedream.
During their 2012 campaign they also caught the eye at the same track winning the Group 1 Presidente Della Repubblica (2011m) by two and a half lengths before being purchased by their current connections Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB).
From there they travelled to Britain where they finished out of the money in the Group 1 Coral Eclipse Stakes (2018m) at Sandown and then the USA for a fifth to Little Mike in the Grade 1 Arlington Million Stakes (2011m).
That race in August of 2012 was their last start, Hayes now in charge of their preparation down under at Lindsay Park.
ATB had plans to target the 2012 and 2013 features with Crackerjack King but have had to delay any return on their purchase with plenty of work having to be done on their troublesome foreleg.
“We got him to train for last spring but the tendon wasn’t ready to be pushed when I got him,” Hayes told AAP this week.
Hayes has kept them in constant light work since arriving in Australia to strengthen his tendons, the same approach he’s taken with fellow injured import Jet Away.
“We have consulted the top human tendon man and used the human theories on tendons,” Hayes said.
“Human tendons recover very well and they don’t stop people moving when they have tendon injuries.”
The master trainer has also given Crackerjack King a few private gallops and is thrilled with their condition, confident they’ve fully recovered from the tendon injuries that put a halt to their promising career.
He trialed them at his new co-trainer Tom Dabernig’s Euroa property last week and was impressed enough to schedule their first-up run for August 16 at Caulfield.
After that they will go down the Cox Plate path, Hayes opting not to target the Caulfield or Melbourne Cup with them with the 2040m distance of the Cox more suitable.
“I think he’s probably too brilliant for the Cups, he’s more of a Cox Plate horse. He’s got plenty of gas,” Hayes said.
“The Cox Plate, with his tendon issues, is probably easier to train him for.”
2014 Cox Plate nominations close today and will be published right here at Races.com.au so stay tuned.
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