It has been two years since Figtree graced the winner’s circle and what were previously lofty goals are down to just winning another race for Kembla Grange trainer Gwenda Markwell.
She hopes that will come on his home track on Saturday for the son of Bel Esprit.
Figtree began his career building a good record, even wining a Saturday race at Rosehill where he beat Ziggy Willie and Danish Twist. But his career was slowed by a breathing problem and has had throat surgery to correct it.
“I thought he would have been a real good horse, he was probably up to winning a black type race,” Markwell said. “He has had the surgery and we are just trying to get his confidence back with a win or two because he loves being in the stable.
“He won up to 1400m but we are keeping him fresh now and looking to these 1000m race for now.”
After a freshen up, Figtree ran his best race for a while when second to Le Dejeuner over 1000m on Melbourne Cup day at Kembla. He will have to lump 62kg on Saturday but has been favourite for the Festive Season benchmark 60 Handicap.
“He is that little bit older and I think these shorter races are his go these days,” Markwell said. “He gets plenty of weight because we have to run him in the 1000m benchmarks.”
Figtree carries the famous colours of Matthew Sandblom, who Markwell also has first starter Speed And Style for in the Christmas Racing at Kembla Grange Maiden Plate.
“She’s in a tough little race and she is only tiny,” Markwell said. “We have been patient with her because she needed to mature and I’m sure she will measure to winning a race or two.”