Injury has kept former Hong Kong galloper Divine Ten away from the racetrack for more than two years but that’s about to change at Moonee Valley.
A winner of five of his eight starts, Divine Ten hasn’t raced since September 2014 and resumes in the William Hill Handicap (1000m) on Saturday.
The gelding suffered tendon problems and after two trials in Hong Kong during 2015 was sent to Australia for rehabilitation.
Geelong horseman Kelvin Bourke was entrusted with getting the sprinter back to racing and after six months of beach work he’s now ready.
Bourke said one of his riders, David Keating, had spent countless hours walking the gelding in the salt water.
Training has included long striding work, pace work, swimming and galloping on the treadmill before a trip to Terang last week for a trial.
Bourke said Divine Ten trialled well although he wasn’t sure of the quality of opposition.
Original plans didn’t include Divine Ten running so early in summer but Bourke said Moonee Valley was possibly the most forgiving summer track.
“He can skip along and if I can get him anywhere near his Hong Kong form he’ll win a race or two,” Bourke said.
“We’ll get through this run, hope he runs well and then decide whether to back off him and look for an autumn race.”
Bourke says Divine Ten is a good straight track sprinter having won five of his six starts at Sha Tin over 1000m before a second to Aerovelocity in his first try at 1200m in May 2014.
Aerovelocity won the Hong Kong International Sprint later that year and claimed a second win in the race earlier this month.
“I know how good he goes,” Bourke said.
“Ideally he’s a good straight horse but Flemington can be a bit hard so I’ll see how he gets through this race on Saturday.
“He’s a big tractable horse and he got around corners in Hong Kong, so I can’t see why he wouldn’t get around corners here.
“He’s broken 56 seconds up the straight in Hong Kong, so that’s going pretty quick and if I can keep him sound he’s a chance of winning a good race.”