A determined owner, a compliant trainer and an injured horse that came at no cost are set to join forces at Kalgoorlie on Sunday.
Trainer Ashley Grace and owner Mark Bowden have been lifetime friends since primary school and share ownership in Halusa.
And because of that bond Helusa will make his goldfields debut in the Ian Dunstan Smartline Personal Advisors Handicap (1200m).
Grace was reluctant to take on, Helusa, and questioned Bowden’s judgement after the gelding had stints with three Perth trainers.
Halusa showed a tinge of promise with two wins from nine starts including the scalp of last year’s Belmont Guineas winner, Tradesman.
But his racing career appeared to be all but over after he sustained a serious injury at Pinjarra, until Grace hesitantly offered a reprieve.
“He cracked a pelvis and I didn’t want anything to do with him,” Grace said.
“I thought it was going to be too much of a problem and was reluctant to take him on.
“I told Mark it wasn’t worth it and to forget about it, but he went ahead anyway.
“The horse may have come to us for nothing but he does owe us a bit in rehab costs.”
Halusa can repay Grace’s patience at his first appearance in nearly 12-months. The son of Oratorio has not raced since he finished last to Low Flying at Pinjarra.
The five-year-old breathed life into his comeback with a comfortable 1200m trial win on June 12, but Grace is taking nothing for granted.
“It was an encouraging effort, but it wasn’t the strongest of trials,” Grace said.
“He has been in work for about 17 weeks so it’s taken a while to get him right.
“I think he is forward enough, but it’s just a matter if he is over all of his issues.”
Helusa, who will race without blinkers, meets a small field of seven. With the claim of Mollie Clarke he carries 56.5kg and starts from barrier one.
Meanwhile Grace is hopeful rather than confident One For The Gals can be on his best behaviour when he tackles the Raw BTQ Handicap (1100m).
The Bearcat gelding shed his maiden status impressively two starts back, but he has struggled to recapture that form at his next two starts.
“He can be his own worst enemy and gets worked up before a race,” Grace said.
”He has got the ability, but you never know when he will show it.
“Either way I will give him a short break and bring him back for the second part of the season.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli