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Sakhee to soldier on at Doomben

Group One winner Sakhee’s Soldier has missed two barrier trials but is still expected to perform solidly on his return from an injury-enforced break at Doomben.

Sakhee’s Soldier runs in Saturday’s Open Handicap (1350m), his first start since finishing 11th in the Group Two Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast in May.

The former Kiwi was trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman to win the Group One New Zealand Stakes at Ellerslie in March 2015.

He was brought to Australia last year for the Brisbane winter carnival but was injured in the Hollindale Stakes and Baker and Forsman elected to leave him in Queensland.

The now six-year-old has been with Gold Coast trainer David Kelly for the past two months.

“He had a small bone chip removed from a knee. He has had three months on a water walker before coming to me and he looks well,” Kelly said.

But Sakhee’s Soldier’s preparation for his return to racing hasn’t gone completely smoothly.

“I wanted to give him a trial,” Kelly said.

“But the wet weather has mucked us about. I wanted to take him down to Grafton for the trials but they were washed out.

“Then I was planning on giving him a trial at the Gold Coast on Tuesday but they were washed out as well.

“It means he might be a bit underdone for Saturday but he has had a jump-out. I would expect him to go OK on Saturday and he has a bit of class on some of these.”

Kelly said Sakhee’s Soldier would be a winter carnival horse if he got back to his old form.

“But once they have had an injury you have to wait and see how they come back. So we will wait until after Saturday before deciding on a possible winter campaign,” Kelly said.

He has booked in-form apprentice Andrew Sewell for Sakhee’s Soldier on Saturday.

“I have been singing Andrew’s praises for a good while and his three-kilo claim means Sakhee’s Soldier gets in with 57 which is a good weight for him,” Kelly said.

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