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Noble Steed Aims at 2009 Winterbottom Stakes

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For trainer Dixie Solly the wait has been worth it to see former star galloper Noble Steed on the verge of making his racetrack return in the Group Two 2009 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.

Solly, who trains at Albany southeast of Perth, feared the worst when Noble Steed limped off the track after finishing second last to Beat The Storm at Belmont in the Listed Birthday Stakes on October 4 last year.

“It was one of the darkest moments of my life,” Solly recalled.

“I thought he was finished.”

The winner of nine of his 26 starts including the Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m), the seven-year-old had improved every campaign until scans revealed he had cracked a pedal bone.

Solly took hope from veterinary advice that Noble Steed would race again but the biggest part of his recovery would be time.

The horse’s welfare was paramount and Solly has rejoiced with every step Noble Steed has taken to make it back.

“His recuperative powers were amazing,” Solly said.

“He was full weight-bearing in a month and with the help of my farrier Tony Ward, who worked on his feet every month, he was soon on the road to recovery.”

Saturday’s Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) is the strongest race Noble Steed has contested but Solly believes he is ready for the challenge.

He finished third in a 600-metre barrier trial to Elegancy on October 25 and won another trial over 1000 metre by 10-1/2 lengths in a fast 58.84 seconds to tune him for his first-up assignment.

“He has had two trials and he has looked really good in both of them,” Solly said.

“This will be a test at another level, but we are just hoping he comes through it safely and then we can start to plan ahead.”

He said the Scahill Stakes over 1400 metres at weight-for-age on December 12 was an option as was the Crawford Stakes (1000m) a week later.

“Undoubtedly this is his big test on Saturday and hopefully he comes through it with flying colours,” Solly said.

Link Robertson will reunite with Noble Steed and has the challenge of having to navigate him from barrier 15.

Noble Steed is $301 with TAB Sportsbet to win his comeback race.

Sprint star Lucky Secret heads the market at $3.60 from fellow Victorian Ortensia ($4.60) and unbeaten three-year-old Waratah’s Secret ($4.60).

Article by Robert Windmill Aapracing

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