Having only being rated a 50-50 chance of ever racing again after connections snapped up injured galloper Ysmael form a tried horse sale last year, the Adam Durrant-trained sprinter is after a fairytale win in the Winterbottom Stakes 2014 this Saturday.
The now seven-year-old son of Bel Esprit showed lots of early potential as a youngster in 2011 and again in 2012-13 when trained initially by Ivan Haggerty and then the Bruce Watkins & Gary Hitchcock partnership.
However a serious suspensory ligament injury during February last year looked to put an end to his promising run on the track.
He was put through the sales ring as a broken-down racehorse and current connections, including Rowen Langridge, snapped him up for only $5,000 hoping to reignite his career.
They were patient with the new purchase and Langridge’s partner Tam Waller used her experience as an equine nurse to help heal the veteran.
After a year and a half on the sidelines Ysmael, who underwent protein-rich plasma (PRP) treatment, returned in August this year despite vets having only rated him a 50% chance of returning to the track.
“He showed a lot of ability as a young horse so we just decided to take a punt on him,” Langridge told Perth Racing.
“Tammy used the PRP and she has a few theories on how to work them on hard ground and up and down hills.”
Having taken it race by race, he has been performing well over the past four months including two wins from his seven starts leading up to his toughest test yet this weekend.
His latest was on November 15 at Ascot Racecourse where, from the outside barrier 14 draw, he burst through and won a Benchmark 72+ by one and a half lengths over Wild Charger.
Connections are now hoping he can extend that brilliance when stepped up in class for Saturday’s $750,000 Group 1 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on Railway Stakes Day.
“I bought another tried racehorse Felined and had a few Saturday wins with her and Inferno won a race at Pinjarra,” Langridge said.
“I didn’t have a lot of success early, but in the last three years I’ve been lucky with a couple of good horses.”
The Super Saturday showdown will be Ysmael’s maiden black-type assignment and he faces a tough field full of Group 1 winners, performers and eastern state raiders.
Latest Winterbottom Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have one of those visitors, the Robbie Griffiths-trained mare Angelic Light, installed as the firm $3 favourite after she ran second in the Manikato Stakes last month.
Also at single figures are fellow raiders Moment Of Change ($4.20) who was runner-up to Buffering in the race 12 months ago and the John O’Shea-trained Sidestep ($7) in barrier two with the blinkers on.
Ysmale meanwhile is at the opposite end of Winterbottom Stakes betting as a $51 roughie shot, a massive drift out from his opening price of $26.
Apprentice hoop Joseph Azzopardi retains the ride in the Group 1 where Ysmael has come up trumps with barrier three.
While hopeful of a nice run, the horse’s co-owner knows it will take a big run and a lot of luck for the roughie shot to upset some of these.
“There are a lot of good horses in the race and we know where we’re at,” Langridge said.
If you think Ysmael is worth a sneaky each way punt on in the Winterbottom Stakes this weekend make sure you place your bets online at Ladbrokes.com.au where you will also be rewarded with a bonus match bet valued up to $100!