Trainer Gary Colvin is rapt to have his comeback galloper Noble Descent finally back in winning form and is banking on a dramatic drop in weight to put the gelding right in the finish again in Friday's $35,000 Chris Heywood Racing Stan Sadleir Stakes (1400m) at Wagga.
Noble Descent, a six-year-old son of Nicconi, resumed at Wagga on October 20, scoring a dominant 3.5 length win in a Benchmark 58 over 1300m. That was his first win since April of 2016 but his career has been restricted through injury. He was sidelined from the end of 2016 until earlier this year after he suffered a tendon injury.
The gelding was off the scene for 18 months before resuming in May this year for a short preparation of just three unplaced runs.
But he showed he still had plenty to offer on the racetrack with his first-up performance on October 20 and Colvin couldn't be happier with the way Noble Descent is progressing.
"He's a very nice horse who I always thought showed a lot of promise before his injury," said the Wagga-based Colvin.
"He's just needed a lot of time to get over his tendon problems and I can tell you we were very, very happy to see him back winning first-up the other week.
"We had him wound up for a strong first-up effort and he was very dominant at the end of the race.
"He's trained on really well since that run and, although he's facing much stiffer opposition in Friday's race, he does drop significantly in weight, which I think should make him very competitive."
Noble Descent carried 61kg in his first-up win in the Benchmark 58 on October 20 and drops to 54kg in Friday's race. He has drawn barrer four in the nine-horse field and will again be partnered by non-claiming apprentice Blaike McDougall.
"He is up against some good horses on Friday so I guess that race will give us a good guide to where he's at this stage," said Colvin. "All being well, we 're planning to aim him towards the Ted Ryder Cup (run at Wagga in December)."
Colvin is also hoping to get a good guide on the potential of first-starter Monterey Zar, a four-year-old who makes his debut in Friday's $40,000 Riverina Signmakers Country Maiden Plate (1200m).
Monterey Zar looked good in winning a Wagga barrier trial over 1000m on October 20, leading all the way under a tight hold by Blaike McDougall to win by just over three lengths.
"I thought the 1200m of the $40,000 Maiden would suit him better than the 1000m Maiden at Friday's meeting," said Colvin.
"He's trialled well but it looks a handy Maiden field and I should get a good guide on his ability after Friday's race."
Colvin also expects Tully Toff to race well when he resumes in the Batkin & Damme Smash Repairs Maiden Hcp (1000m).
"He didn't have a lot of luck earlier in the year as he struck a couple of wet tracks, and getting him back on a good track is the key to him," he said.