More than 1000 days after he last raced, the former highly-rated import Ashrun is just days away from an unlikely comeback to racing.
Co-trainer Dave Eustace confirmed the one-time world-class stayer had undergone a long rehabilitation from a tendon injury and was now at the stage where he could return to the racetrack as a northern hemisphere eight-year-old.
“I think he’ll run,” Eustace said of Saturday’s 1700-metre handicap at Flemington.
“The owners have been extremely patient. He did a tendon when not with us and they (owners) have been bloody patient.
‘It’s been quite a long road for different reasons – he’s had a few setbacks – but he trialed adequately (at Cranbourne) last week for a horse that wants ground.
“It’s hard to know how he’s going because he’s always been a genuine stayer anyway, but he looks great and his trial was actually quite good.
“He’s old but not with a lot of racing obviously. Gut feel, fitness wise I think he would be ready (for a Melbourne Cup) but it depends on how he returns and he’d probably have to win the Bart Cummings to get there.”
Purchased as a well-performed horse by Australian Bloodstock and prepared by noted German trainer Andreas Wohler, Ashrun ran 10th in the 2020 Melbourne Cup after winning his way into the race via a G2 Hotham Handicap (2500m) victory three days earlier.
Ashrun emerged in 2019 with some strong staying performances in Germany before he ran second in the G2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville in 2020. Wohler prepared him for his Hotham win and for his Melbourne Cup run. Hew injured his tendon when being prepared for the 2021 spring carnival.
Eustace was much more confident the Maher/Eustace stable can score a win in the 2500-metre handicap at Flemington next Saturday with a young import Interpretation.
“Interpretation galloped this morning (Saturday) and he went great,” Eustace reported.
“I think he’s a real sneaky. I mean, he’s obviously shown ability but he’s been gelded and that was always going to be the making of him.”