Trainer Shea Eden has always held Ocean Embers in high regard and is excited to have the filly ready to return to the races from a lengthy lay-off after a throat operation.
“Back in the spring I thought I had my first Group horse but unfortunately that went pear-shaped,” Eden said.
“We’ve finally got her back to the races. And I just hope that she’s back to her best.”
Ocean Embers is set to resume for her first start in eight months in Saturday’s Sheen Group Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.
The three-year-old raced to a convincing maiden win by three lengths on debut at Bendigo in September last year before stepping to stakes company at her second start.
She finished fifth in the Group Three Champagne Stakes at Moonee Valley before a sixth placing in another Group Three for fillies during the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington in November.
Ocean Embers later underwent a throat operation.
“We were trying to manage it during the spring and did as best we could, but being the quality of animal we know she is, we thought it was best to have the operation done,” Eden said.
“In the spring (jockey) James Winks did most of the work on her and his opinion was she’s a Group horse every day of the week. It was just disappointing to then find out that she was deteriorating in the wind.
“Unfortunately that’s racing. But we’re hopeful that she can get back to where she was.”
Eden said indications are the surgery has been a success but race day pressure would be more telling.
Ocean Embers was scratched from a race on Wednesday in preference for Saturday’s race given the track was initially rated heavy for Sandown.
It also gave him an opportunity to give Ocean Embers another gallop leading into her return.
“We were really happy with her gallop on Tuesday. It was probably the best I’ve seen her work and the gallop has really helped to bring her on,” Eden said.
Ocean Embers is at $8 for Saturday’s race for fillies with the promising Anatola $3.80 favourite.
Anatola will be making her debut for the Mick Price stable having won two of her three starts for her former trainer Peter Moody.