Imported French galloper Prairie Star could make his long-awaited return to racing at Flemington on Saturday after being included in the nominations for the Listed 2014 Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m).
Prairie Star joined the stable of Danny O’Brien during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, after racing impressively at Group 1 level in France, and made his Australian racing debut with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) before finishing in the same position behind Group 1 winners Alcopop, Glass Harmonium and Ocean Park in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
The Peintre Celebre entire returned to the races, after a stint in the spelling paddock, with a tenth place finish in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) and failed to fire when sixth behind Foreteller in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m).
Prairie Star had his 2013 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign prematurely ended when he suffered a nasty tendon injury and O’Brien has been forced to slowly nurse the six-year-old back to full fitness.
O’Brien will be hoping that Prairie Star can return to his European form, where he was victorious in the Group 3 Prix De Conde (1800m) and Group 2 Prix Hocquart (2200m) and was placed at Group level in the Criterium De Saint-Cloud (2000m).
Another injury-plagued galloper included in the nominations for the Manifold Stakes is Chase The Rainbow who made his controversial return to racing in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
Chase The Rainbow was making his first appearance at the races since his dominant victory in the National Jockeys’ Celebration Day Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield at the start of the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival and failed to beat home a single runner; with punters around Australia disappointed that they were only informed minutes before the race that the Dash For Cash entire would be wearing bar plates.
The Christmas Stakes is set to be the key lead-up race to the Manifold Stakes; with Testa Rossa Stakes winner It Is Written, Peter Moody-trained Kneeling and Darley gelding Reparations also nominated for the Listed event.
Other interesting runners in the Chester Manifold Stakes nominations include: Team Cummings-trained The Peak, consistent gelding Said Com, last start winner Limes, Shawn Mathrick-trained Gig and the resuming Cooldini.