Super Winner may make comeback in Garden City Trophy
Kieser's stable star has put stray nail prick encounter behind him with second trial win
A stray nail was behind smart sprinter Super Winner's latest setback, but looking at the way he has come back as sharp as a tack at Tuesday's barrier trials, trainer Theo Kieser had every reason to believe the winning flair might be back soon.
Ridden by new partner Michael Rodd, the Kaphero five-year-old swept past his rivals with consummate ease to stroll away to an easy four-and-a-quarter-length win from Singapore Guineas winner Forever Young (Benny Woodworth) in a solid time of 59.69sec for the 1,000m on the Polytrack.
The 11-time winner (10 times on Polytrack) has not quite returned to his best since his failed Korea trip last September, but had been making encouraging headway until that untimely prickly encounter.
Kieser said it had been a tall order to fix the Soh Seng Lye-owned galloper's most recent issue - he has ongoing degenerative bone problems which he has somehow got on top of - but it's all systems go ahead of his comeback race in the Group 3 Garden City Trophy over 1,200m on Aug 6.
"This was his second trial. He took it easy at his last trial and got a bit tired," said Kieser.
"Today I told Michael to do a bit more and I was very happy with the way he did it. It is the perfect hit-out before his intended comeback race in the Garden City Trophy.
"If he pulls up good after today, he will definitely run in that race next Sunday week.
"He's had a few feet problems for three months. He stood on a nail, and the injury got infected.
"It's finally come right but his first-up race (Kranji Stakes A race over 1,100m on May 1) was a bit rushed. I freshened him up and he will be fitter this time round."
Rodd jumped off with a big thumbs-up after the winning trial, and was excited to get a chance to combine with one of Kranji's most proven Polytrack performers.
"This horse can gallop, and it was no surprise he won his trial easily today," said the Australian jockey, who is just back from a two-week suspension for careless riding.
"Hopefully, he can run really well at his comeback race. He is in a very good spot, he's fresh and keen, just like me after I've come back refreshed and recharged from my holiday in Vietnam."
Besides Super Winner, Kieser will be pinning his hopes on two-year-old and last-start winner First Choice in Sunday's $200,000 Group 3 Juvenile Championship which is for the first time run over 1,400m instead of 1,200m.
The Love Conquers All rig brought up the last of Kieser's five wins this year.
"First Choice galloped very well with Saifudin (Ismail) today. I was very happy with that piece of work, and so was Saifudin," said Kieser, who has long been known as the King of Kids during the Kaiser and Yin Xin era, but who had somehow lost that mantle in the last four or five years.
"The only query is whether he will see out the 1,400m."