Watching his past five race starts you would never know that twelve months ago News Alert was fighting for his life after contracting a deadly stomach virus.
However, that was certainly the case.
The Sydney sprinter became couped up in a Brisbane veterinary clinic just days after competing in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000, trying to recover from a virus that proceeded to poison his entire body.
Trainer Con Karakatsanis was sure he was going to lose the then five-year-old gelding.
“He’s been a great horse to me but he had to have nine months off after he got crook following the 10,000,” Karakatsanis said.
“He spent three months up there at the Redlands vet clinic with a stomach virus which almost killed him.
“Somehow his entire body was poisoned from the virus. He went from being 110 per cent to just about dead within a few days of the 10,000.”
However, News Alert has made a miraculous full recovery and is now in the midst of one of the most successful preparations of his career.
“He’s an amazingly tough horse,” Karakatsanis said.
“He had 10 months off following his illness before he raced again and this is his first preparation since last winter.”
News Alert finished fourth in his last start in the Group 1 The Galaxy, despite the heavy rated track.
“He was slow out of the gates and was run off his feet on the heavy track in the Galaxy,” Karakatsanis said.
The trainer has now entered him in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup at the Gold Coast this weekend, and feels the conditions are likely to better suit News Alert.
“I think going to 1300 metres tomorrow is really going to suit him,” Karakatsanis said.
“He travelled up well from Sydney and arrived on the Gold Coast on Tuesday and he’s settled in well.”
Karakatsanis will use Saturday’s race to determine whether or not to aim News Alert at the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap in a months’ time.
“If he runs well I’m looking at setting him for the Stradbroke along with the black horse (Black Piranha),” Karakatsanis said.
“I don’t think News Alert has got the brilliance for the Stradbroke but I’m looking at it because he’ll get in with a light weight.
“He’s tough and honest and if he goes that way he’ll be a genuine chance.”
The Danehill Dancer gelding has won eight of his 32 career starts and has accrued almost $540,000 in prize money.