Loft returns with strong showing at Geelong barrier trials

Loft is edging closer to a raceday return. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

JD Hayes expressed satisfaction with Loft, a one-time Melbourne Cup contender, following his third-place finish in a 1000-metre trial at Geelong yesterday.

Loft is on the path to recovery after sustaining a tendon injury just days before his Australian debut in the 2022 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Undergoing rehabilitation with Lee Evison, Loft is set for a comeback, with an eye on the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in April and the Melbourne Cup as a long-term goal.

“I was really happy with that. He showed enough speed for a horse that the minimum distance that he won over before is 2800 [metres], so he’s very much just building in the right direction,” Hayes said of his trial.

“He was clean in the wind, and he didn’t look like he wanted to stop past the line either. So, he got a big pass mark.

“We’ll give him a couple of runs well short of his distance to make sure he is rock-hard fit and then hopefully he will end up in the Sydney Cup.

“The main goal with him is still the Melbourne Cup; that was what he was bought for, so this is very much preparing him for that.”

Loft is a +5000 chance in the Sydney Cup futures market with online bookmakers.

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