Rock Hero has returned to work ahead of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival after having a wind operation during his time in the spelling paddock.
Rock Hero started his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a second place finish behind Thunder Fantasy in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8, but he failed to fire when tenth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 and after the race was found to be having trouble breathing.
Trainer David Payne told Racing Ahead this morning that Rock Hero had recovered well from the operation, but admitted that he will not be sure that the operation has been completely effective until the Fastnet Rock colt is tested under racing conditions.
“Rock Hero had a wind operation, so he has been back in work for a couple of weeks,” Payne said.
“Once they become roarers, you always have a little bit of a setback and you always wonder if they will come back as good.
“It develops over time and it just gets worse.
“We will just have to wait and see.
“He is breathing well now, we monitor him while he is working, but you have to stretch them.”
Payne revealed last week that Australian Derby winner Criterion would head to Melbourne for races like the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m), Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but said that he plans to follow a different path with Rock Hero.
“We might go a different path with him,” Payne said.
“I will probably keep him in Sydney for the first part of the season and if he steps up I will take him to Melbourne.
“It all depends on how he shapes up.”
Rock Hero made his racing debut in August of last year and stamped himself as a horse to watch with a dominant six and a half lengths win in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on September 25.
The son of Gallant Tess made his black type racing debut with an impressive win in the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 5, but was found to be lame after finishing eighth in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a week later.