Group 1 winner Mepunga Blazer makes his much awaited return to racing this Thursday night at Sandown Park.
Mepunga Blazer won the group 1 Maturity Classic at The Meadows in July last year before running 2nd in last September’s Speed Star behind Bewildering. He then spent four months on the sidelines and missed the TAB Melbourne Cup Carnival due to injury. He resumed at Sandown Park in late January, then in his following start at Horsham he injured a triangle muscle leading to another four months away from the track.
“He was sore too often and needed a long lay off. He tries so hard all of the time,” explained trainer Jeff Britton.
“It was probably one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had when he had to leave the kennel.”
Mepunga Blazer has proven over his 22 career starts that, when on-song, he is one of Australia’s fastest sprinters. He has had a number of trials leading to his return, the most impressive a 29.32 over 515m.
“His last two runs at Sandown have been really good. We took him to Brisbane last week and gave him a solo trial plus experience on a plane and he seemed to handle it ok. In his trial he didn’t go too well to the first split and missed the corner a little, but he ended up going around the same time as Hasten Slowly (who won the group 3 Flying Amy Classic on the same night).
“Practice in trials is a lot different to being in a race. Whether he’ll produce the same times in a race I don’t know.”
Mepunga Blazer will jump from box 2 in Thursday night’s free-for-all with kennelmate Miss Innings to jump from his inside.
“She’ll probably jump ahead of him and get off the track a little bit, hopefully he can find a bit of room.”
Following Thursday’s run Mepunga Blazer is scheduled to head to Brisbane for next week’s group 1 Winter Cup heats.
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