Ted Martinovich admits he has doubts about Jezpark’s return in the Like Us On Facebook Handicap (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Martinovich says the signs look promising after Jezpark posted two trials wins over 950m at Lark Hill, but he remains cautious.
The Ascot trainer is hoping Jezpark can reignite his juvenile form that netted two wins and four placings from his first six career starts.
He won Listed races in the Supremacy Stakes (1200m) and Perth Stakes (1100m) and ran third to Hobart Jones in the Karrakatta Plate (1200m).
But after an early win as a three-year-old it’s been a lean spell for Jezpark who launches his return to racing after last year’s poor winter campaign at Belmont.
He failed to finish any better than fourth in four starts and hasn’t raced since finishing a distant 12th of 13 to Vital Importance in June.
“After that race he had a throat problem and needed an operation,” Martinovich said on TABradio.
“His two trials have been quite good but mind you he didn’t really beat open class horses.
“I’m hoping he goes back to his normal self as he was as a two-year-old and early three-year-old.
“I think we have got him back but you still have a question mark when you go out after that operation.
“I’m hard to convince sometimes with these throat operations, but he has done everything he has had to do.
“If he doesn’t get through tomorrow (Saturday) then we could be in a bit of trouble.
“On his ability and the field he is against, if he can’t run a good race we can’t go to the next level.”
Jezpark, to be ridden by Jarrad Noske, has drawn the middle of the ten horse field.
Meanwhile Martinovich is upbeat about Diamond Tonique who tackles the Become A Member Plate (1100m) second up this campaign.
Boosting his confidence was the gelding’s top second behind Scales Of Justice at Ascot two weeks back, beaten one length.
Scales Of Justice, a member of Lindsey Smith’s team, oozes promise and pushed another potential top liner, Vega Magic, last Saturday.
“Scales Of Justice is a very good horse and I thought Diamond Tonique ran a very good race,” Martinovich said.
“He got held up half way down the straight and I don’t think he would have won, but he would have gone closer.
“Taken that into account, a nice barrier and with a trouble free run I think he will go very, very close.”
Diamond Tonique and Jarrad Noske combine from gate two. In an open market the Planet Five gelding holds narrow favouritism with the TAB.
Martinovich also believes Festive Excess, in race six and Magnascope in the second, will run competitive races.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli