Australian Cup winner Spillway is on the comeback trail after being brought out of a short retirement.
Spillway won the 2015 Group One Australian Cup and then suffered a suspensory injury after finishing fourth to stablemate Criterion in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney in April last year.
Co-trainer and part-owner David Hayes had the horse back in work late last year aiming towards an autumn return but said the leg was still not right at that stage.
“We pulled the pin and we thought `nah, we’re not going to get to the races’,” Hayes said.
“Then we were negotiating with a few studs to sell and they fell through.
“And I was just looking at him in the paddock one day when I was walking around the property and thought `that leg has improved a hell of a lot’.
“So then I put him into a gradual rehab program and he’s really responded, and I just think we probably brought him back a bit soon from his original tear.”
Hayes said he was really happy with Spillway and the plan was to give him a barrier trial in about two weeks.
The trainer has pinpointed an early season Group One race as a target.
“I think the Makybe Diva Stakes will be a real target for him, which he should have won a couple of years ago,” Hayes said.
The Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) is at Flemington on September 10 and Hayes said Spillway would likely have a 1400m-start before then.
Spillway finished fourth to Dissident in the Makybe Diva in 2014 and notched his biggest win when he edged out stablemate Extra Zero in a photo finish to the Australian Cup.