Trainer Jason Miller is confident there is plenty of feature racing left in Material Man after the rising nine-year-old produced an encouraging trial at Bunbury on Monday.
The quality Vital Equine gelding has been off the scene for eight months after returning from an extensive stay in Melbourne, but looks on target to make his season return.
In heat three he traveled strongly behind the leader for Clint Johnston-Porter and had plenty up his sleeve when a length second to We’ve Got Dreams over 1000m.
Miller said Material Man will launch his campaign in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) on May 30.
“I was very happy and he did everything right,” Miller told The Races WA.
“He looked good and still had a little bit in hand and pulled up good.
“I didn’t want him to do too much with the wet track and being his first trial.
“He’s a lovely horse to have and he knows what to do.
“It’s a pleasure dealing with a good horse like that.
“All going well he will trial again in a fortnight and then head towards the Belmont Sprint.”
Material Man was a local star under previous trainer Justin Warwick, winning 14 races and nearly 2 million dollars in prize money for the Bunbury horseman.
He came close to claiming success at the top level with two second placings in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and a third in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).
In the 2017-2018 racing season he shared honours with Pounamu as Western Australia’s Leading Horse of the Year.
Material Man left Warwick’s care after he finished tenth to Mystic Journey in the inaugural All-Star Mile at Flemington in March 2019.
He remained with Mornington trainer Pat Carey for a brief spell but niggling injuries prevented him from showcasing his best form over east.
The Bunbury trial was Material Man’s first official hit out after finishing second-last in a 1700m handicap at Flemington last September.
Delighted to have a quality horse in his stable, Miller said he felt under no pressure to revive the fortunes of Material Man.
“I’m getting him off a Melbourne prep where his form really tapered off,” Miller said.
“So it’s not really any pressure.
“I know the horse has got ability and I just have to do my best to get him back to being a happy-healthy horse.
“On today (Monday) he’s not far off.”