New Zealand-bred gelding Alfa Oro (NZ) (Bachelor Duke) will attempt to keep his picket fence form line intact at Caulfield on Saturday when he contests the Neds Handicap (1100m).
The son of Bachelor Duke has had just the six lifetime starts after fracturing his right-fore cannon bone after his second start.
After nearly two years of rehabilitation, Alfa Oro returned to the racetrack at Pakenham in April where he finished runner-up before posting three successive wins, including a last-start victory over 1100m at Flemington late last month.
Trainer Matt Laurie said the gelding does get a little bit extra TLC, but he is as sound as a bell and no issues have surfaced this preparation.
“It (injury) is always on your mind, but it is a fair amount of time between when that injury first occurred and now,” Laurie told RSN Radio.
“A lot of steps have been taken in-between, he has passed them all and is just a normal horse now.
“He gets extra special treatment, but we are very happy with his soundness.”
Laurie elected to give the gelding a month off since his last run and said he was pleased with his recent trial performance.
“He has come through that run really well,” Laurie said. “It’s been quite a few weeks leading into this run at Caulfield this weekend.
“He trialled very well on the course proper at Mornington last week, so we are very happy with where he is at leading into Saturday.
“I just wanted to go to Benchmark 84 as the next step leading on from that race at Flemington.
“There were only open handicaps to choose from between his last run and this weekend, so we decided to hold off and wait and hopefully it is the right decision.”
Laurie is looking forward to Alfa Oro’s fresh-up run.
“He is going in for his fifth run and it’s his first prep back in a long time, but he does seem particularly well,” he said.
“He seems to be really thriving on the work, so there are no issues on my end, so I am really excited to see how he goes this weekend.
“I think he can win. I know he is good enough, it’s just a matter of continuing on in the form, and I think he can do it.
“I think we should get a bit of a trail this time and I am sure he will race really well.”
Alfa Oro was purchased by Laurie out of Regal Farm’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs draft for $240,000.