Former Godolphin horse, the Natalie McCall-trained Spectroscope, returns at Eagle Farm.
A training setback that put Spectroscope out of the winter carnival means he has had a longer break than planned which could prove a blessing ahead of his return at Eagle Farm.
The gelding will be having his first start in nine months in Saturday’s Juiced Open Handicap (1400m).
Spectroscope did his early racing in France before joining the Godolphin organisation in Australia in early 2017.
He won the 2017 Doncaster Prelude but despite being a consistent performer since he has not won again in Australia.
Spectroscope was bought by prominent owner Tosh Murphy late last year at a Godolphin dispersal sale.
He sent Spectroscope to Group One-winning trainer Natalie McCall at Caloundra.
After trialling well Spectroscope made his debut for McCall in the Sunshine Coast Cup when seventh beaten about a length.
It was such an impressive effort McCall immediately turned him out with the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm in June in mind.
“The Sunshine Coast run was very good and he probably should have won,” McCall said.
“He is a very good first-up horse so we decided to have a go at the Stradbroke first-up.”
Spectroscope has won twice and been minor placed twice when fresh.
McCall devised a plan to get Spectroscope fit and after plenty of trackwork gave the gelding two trials.
“He was spot-on but he had one more jump-out and suffered a setback after it. There was no use going on to the Stradbroke if he wasn’t 100 per cent right so we turned him out again,” she said.
“But it might be a blessing in disguise because he has got back without any niggling problems. Like all older horses he had a few leg issues but he seems free of them after the break.
“He is the best since we have had him.”
Spectroscope trialled at the Sunshine Coast last week, finishing a close second to handy sprinter Bargannon.
“Where we go after Saturday is a bit of a problem. He obviously isn’t a Magic Millions horse but we can’t even chase a wild card into the races,” she said.
“Apparently you have to be an Australian horse to get a go at the wild cards.
“It means we stay here and chase some of the local features or go to Sydney for the lesser races at the end of their carnival.”
McCall won the 2014 Stradbroke with River Lad and has usually had a good horse in her stable.
She has some nice young horses coming through including The Sinner who will tackle a three-year-old handicap over 1400m on Saturday.
“He has been racing consistently but this is a bit harder. He has got the inside barrier which should be a help,” she said.