Trainer Dan Morton says Man Booker is showing all the right signs as he prepares to mark his return to top flight racing in the Amelia Park Roma Cup (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Man Booker is Morton’s stable flag bearer, a multiple stakes winner with over a million dollars in prize money and he’s primed to make an early statement in the Group 3 feature.
Man Booker has been out of action for nine months, but Morton is upbeat that the quality seven-year-old can begin his latest campaign in similar vein to how he finished last year.
The Discorsi gelding was at his peak with an interstate feature double, claiming the Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich and the Birthday Stakes (1200m) back home at Belmont.
Unfortunately, as he was preparing for the riches of last year’s Ascot summer carnival, Man Booker suffered an untimely injury setback to his hind leg that required surgery.
While acknowledging Man Booker confronts hot opposition first-up in the Roma Cup, Morton can see no reason why his charge won’t have a say in the outcome.
“He’s been perfect and hasn’t missed a beat,” Morton told The Races WA.
“He’s coming off a long layoff and I’m mindful there are others who might have the fitness edge.
“But he goes good fresh and they will know he is out there.
“He’s drawn well and should get a good run in transit.
“He’s our big gun and it’s exciting to have him back.
“I don’t think he is too off the mark.”
Man Booker will jump from the middle gate in the 12-horse line-up. Chris Parnham has his first association with the gelding.
From eight first-up attempts Man Booker has won three times and been placed second once.
Morton said the Roma Cup and the Belmont Sprint (1400m) on May 30 will round out Man Booker’s winter campaign.
He believes Vega Magic is the biggest threat to Man Booker completing a fairy tale return.
Drawn perfectly in barrier three for Pat Carbery, the dual Group 1 champion is back with Sean and Jake Casey after a stint in Melbourne with the David Hayes operation.
The seven-year-old has not raced since last August when he trailed The Heath (1100m) field at Caulfield and it appeared his racing future was over.
But he seems to have relished being back at home and after three winning trials over 1000m he looks to have recovered his appetite for racing once again.
“If the horse turns up I would say Vega Magic is the hardest to beat,” Morton said.
“He has obviously trialled well and I know he is very fit.
“He looks the part and is moving excellent.
“If he turns up in the right frame of mind he is the one to beat.”
Vega Magic has been installed the $2.90 favourite with Tabtouch
Man Booker has shortened from $11 to $9.