Our Gladiator after hat-trick at Caulfield

One bright spot for trainer Jerome Hunter has been the recent good form of his horses.

The Mornington trainer had a health scare earlier in the year from which he said he had not fully recovered.

“I was fit and healthy before but I had a virus attack my heart and it’s scarred one of the valves,” Hunter said.

“Next week I’ve got to walk around with an ECG monitor to check my heart.

“The horses are all going well which keeps me happy.

“At least something is going right.”

Hunter has had only seven runners since being struck down with the virus, registering three wins, two of those with Our Gladiator who runs in the Noel Rundle Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday in which she will be joined by stablemate Perfect Statue.

Our Gladiator is a last-start winner at Moonee Valley and Hunter says she has turned the corner.

“She was pretty competitive last time in but seems a bigger and stronger mare now,” Hunter said.

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“She really dominated at Moonee Valley last time when there was a few handy horses in the race.

“I wanted last prep to try and get her to one of those races but there wasn’t one available.”

After winning first-up over 1000m at Pakenham, Our Gladiator dropped to 955m at Moonee Valley and Hunter doesn’t see Saturday’s 1100m posing a problem.

He said there were excuses for her failure over 1100m at Echuca last year when she raced on the speed on a track that wasn’t suiting on-pacers.

“Every time she’s won over 1000 metres she’s run it really strong,” he said.

“There’s not much speed in it and she should get a bit of a rest.

“She should be able to run it out, especially being third-up she should be fit enough.”

Stablemate Perfect Statue returned with a pleasing fourth at Sandown earlier in month and Hunter said the small field would suit.

“It’s bit of a step up going into Saturday grade,” he said.

“If she can improve a few lengths from her last preparation I think she’ll be in the money.”