After a long lay-off, Raphael’s Cat returns to racing looking to build his way to the black-type races which could boost his prospects as a stallion.
A setback at the end of his three-year-old spring convinced trainer Gai Waterhouse to give the talented colt a lengthy break.
Now a four-year-old, Raphael’s Cat is set to make his comeback in a benchmark handicap over 1100m at Rosehill on Saturday for the partnership of Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
“He’s come back in great order as you’ve seen from the two trials to date,” Bott told AAP.
Raphael’s Cat cruised to a 3-1/2 length trial win over Group Three winner Tempt Me Not over 742m at Randwick on October 11.
He backed that up by finishing a close third in a 1050m heat on the same track on October 28.
“He’s come back a more mature horse,” Bott said.
“He’s a really strong individual.”
Raphael’s Cat graduated from a midweek win at Canterbury to finishing second to Kinglike in last year’s Group Two Danehill Stakes.
He then ran fourth in the Listed Blue Sapphire in October 2015, his most recent race.
Raphael’s Cat is by champion sire Redoute’s Choice out of Cat By The Tale, a Group One-winning mare in the United States.
“He’s got all the right credentials to be a stallion prospect we just need the race performance to match up with that,” Bott said.
“There’s no doubt he’s got the ability so that’s up to us to ensure he has those races on his CV.”
It shapes as a fairly light preparation for Raphael’s Cat whose main focus is the autumn carnival.
“We just want to get him going and get his rating and prize money up, get some wins on the board and assess from there,” Bott said.
Stablemate Vasiliev is also set to return from a break in the 1300m benchmark handicap for three-year-olds.
The colt ran 14th in the Group One J J Atkins over 1600m at Eagle Farm in June, after a strong maiden win at Gosford over the same distance.
“We sent him up to Queensland and the race didn’t quite suit him,” Bott said.
“The conditions up there on that particular day were not to his liking so we had to put a line through that.
Bott says 1300m first-up will be no issue for Vasiliev.
“We’ve given him the three trials because he is an entire and he carries plenty of condition,” he said.