Senhor Da Gama has not been seen at the races since he finished third in the 2011 edition of the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m), but is set to make his long-awaited return to racing in the 2014 Scahill Stakes at Ascot this weekend.
Senhor Da Gama made his racing debut under the care of Matthew Dale in 2009 and he was transferred to the care of Simon Miller at the conclusion of his autumn campaign in Sydney.
The Commands gelding recorded three wins from nine race starts in his maiden racing preparation in Perth and was most impressive in the Perth Cup, but Miller told Racing Ahead that tendon issues have kept the horse away from racing ever since.
“He came over to me from Sydney and he just kept going through his grades,” Miller said.
“I raced him during the winter and he kept coming up and racing well, so I kept him going.
“It was December and the Perth Cup was on the horizon and he was just going so well that I ran him in it and he ran third.
“I brought him back for the Kagoorlie Cup, but he bowed a tendon so I put him out for 12 months and he came back, but he bowed another tendon.
“He has done one on each leg now, so I gave him another 12 months off and he is back, he is sound and he is happy.”
Senhor Da Gama will take on some of the best sprinters in Australia in the 2014 Scahill Stakes this weekend, including Winterbottom Stakes winner Magnifisio, and Miller admits that the eight-year-old will struggle to be competitive in the Group 3 event, but is hoping that the horse can get through the run unscathed and progress to a more suitable race at his next race start.
“He trialed really good the other day, but realistically they will be too slick for him in this race,” Miller said.
“Just because his rating is too high I didn’t want him to run first-up with 62, so I put him in this at weight-for-age.
“We will just warm him up in this and then there is a ratings race in three weeks’ time for him.
“It is good to have him back and he still has the zest which is amazing considering the issues that he has had.”
Senhor Da Gama will be joined in the 2014 Scahill Stakes by stablemate Platinum Rocker, who finished a disappointing 15th in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 22.