Pat Carey’s former Group 1 winner and Cox Plate 2015 nominated Ethiopia will make a quiet return to racing as a seven-year-old this Wednesday in a Sandown-Lakeside midweek run over 1400m.
The now veteran son of Helenus boasts just the one win from his light 18-start career to date, Ethiopia scoring the bulk of his impressive $1.28 million in prize money with his upset win in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) as a three-year-old in the autumn of 2012.
That sole victory was a long three years ago and since then the gelding’s career on track has been plagued by a number of injuries and setbacks.
The spring after scoring the Group 1 over the mile and a half in Sydney, Ethiopia jumped a $21 chance before he finished dead last (24th) to Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup following a good fourth in that year’s Cox Plate.
He is again nominated for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship with the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) set to run at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 24.
There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and Cox Plate Day however, and currently the galloper’s Mornington-based trainer Carey’s main focus is getting him through his run on Wednesday.
“Obviously he’s a seven-year-old now that has had a history of injuries but he’s been in work for around six months and has had a really good foundation,” Carey, who has had the horse doing plenty of beach work in WA at his owner Trevor Delroy’s property, told Racing Victoria.
“He had a jumpout at Pakenham a fortnight ago and I’m happy with how handled himself there and how he’s come through the trial.
“He’s been really sound since he came back here and I’m really happy with him so we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
Seventh to Fiornete in the 2013 Melbourne Cup as an $81 roughie before his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign was cut at just one run last year due to a ligament injury after his last behind Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) in early October, Ethiopia is accepted to race for the first time since in the $40,000 Bushnell Outdoor Products Handicap (1400m).
He is allocated the hefty 64kg top weight in the BenchMark 90, but will carry less thanks to the apprentice claim of Patrick Moloney who will ride the warhorse from barrier 10 of 14.
“This whole preparation is just about getting him to return to form and anything else other than that is just hopeful,” Carey said.
“He’s been a big-game player for most of his life and when you’ve had injuries you’ve just got to work your way back into the game.”
Ethiopia is rated almost a zero chance of first-up success in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $101 for the win in markets led by the rails-drawn Minnesinger ($3.30), Lee & Anthony Freedman’s Lonhro stallion racing for the first time since an eighth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March.
He is also at very long odds in the futures Cox Plate betting markets paying $251.
To take the bookies on and back the juicily-priced Ethiopia this week and into the spring visit Ladbrokes.com.au now and quote the code SPRINGBONUS to also have your initial deposit matched dollar for dollar up to a generous $500!