Former star New Zealand galloper Carrick will return to racing in the Benchmark 95 Handicap (1400m) at the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday.
Carrick was placed at Group 1 level in New Zealand, finishing third behind Silent Achiever and Rock ‘N’ Pop in the 2012 New Zealand Derby (2400m) but has been plagued by injuries since arriving in Australia in April this year.
The Shinko King gelding became fractious in the barriers before making his Australian racing debut in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2100m) at Eagle Farm on May 11 and, after beating home just a single runner, was found with a foot infection after the race.
Carrick moved from the stable of Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue to that of Danny Williams in Goulburn and he failed to fire when making his first start for his new trainer; finishing in the tail of the field in the ATC Membership On Sale Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 6.
Williams told AAP that Carrick had enjoyed his time away from racing and is confident that the five-year-old can return to his best form this campaign but believes he will be better over staying trips and could be outpaced over 1400 metres this weekend.
“He obviously hadn’t fully recovered from the infection so we decided to give him a good spell,” Williams said.
“He is a nice big horse who will be at his best when he gets up to 2000 metres and beyond.
“We need to get his confidence back and get him winning.
“He has been up in the weights since he was a three-year-old and it takes a long time for the rating to come down.
“It makes it harder for the older horses to get back to the level they were at.”
Carrick started his racing career with back-to-back wins in Te Teko and Taurange and impressed enough to earn a step up to Group 2 level for the 2012 Avondale Guineas (2100m) in Ellerslie and finished third behind Silent Achiever and Shuka.
He made his Group 1 debut in the New Zealand Derby and despite being caught wide and checked in the early stages of the race worked home strongly to finish third behind Silent Achiever and stamp himself as a stayer with plenty of talent.
The gelding returned to Group 1 level and finished at the tail of the field in the Spring Classic (2040m) at Hastings before producing a poor performance in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) and finishing fifth in the Group 3 Trentham Stakes (2100m).
Carrick is chasing his first race win since he took out the P G Wrightson Handicap at Hastings over twelve months ago but will face a tough field that could include up to five Chris Waller-trained runners; with Said Com, Tromso, I’m Imposing, Studio and Pipette all included in the nominations for the event.