For trainer, Jane Hossell, Sunday’s Freight Lines Group Esperance Cup (2030m) with Dark Shot is about redemption.
A year ago Hossell believed Dark Shot was a genuine chance to win the Esperance Cup.
Her confidence sky high after the Musket gelding won four races from five starts including a hat trick last January.
However, right on the eve of the Esperance Cup and his pinnacle race, Dark Shot sprained a suspensory ligament.
The cruel injury blow was only minor, but at the peak of his form, Dark Shot’s Esperance Cup plans were shelved.
“It was so terribly disappointing and unfortunate just a fortnight before the Esperance Cup,” Hossell said.
“He is a handy stayer and was probably racing in career-best form.
“But he has come back as good as gold and I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Mindful of his previous injury concerns, Hossell has adopted a patient and low key build-up with Dark Shot.
The six-year-old tackles the Esperance Cup with just the one run under his belt, a 2000m race on February 2.
But in a major confidence boost for Hossell, Dark Shot won well and looks on target to atone for last year’s disappointment.
In a gritty victory he fought on to defeat Esperance Cup rivals Get Round It and Rhino Buster by narrow margins.
“I have just held him back a little bit this preparation,” Hossell said.
“I’m not giving him too many runs.
“I want to save him for the Esperance Cup.
“It will be hard to win, but he tries.”
Carrying 58.5kg, Dark Shot will be ridden by Craig Staples. In a 14 horse line up he has
drawn barrier nine.
Hossell believes top weight Push To Pass (59kg) and Scooner, on the 54kg minimum, pose the biggest threat to Dark Shot.