Tollesprit hasn’t had the happiest of times in the medical department throughout his career but a second throat operation has hopefully done enough to get his career back on track.
He runs for the second time this preparation in the All Victorian Sprint Final at Flemington this weekend, a race that will more than test how well he’s recovered.
Trained out of Bendigo by Steve Fliedner, a displaced palate had been affecting his breathing for more than a year and a half.
The horse showed plenty of promise early in his career and won two races in a row leading into the Newmarket Handicap in 2010.
He finished seventh in that race before ebbing spelled but his two races next prep showed that something wasn’t right.
He had throat surgery and had another lengthy spell but the problem clearly hadn’t been rectified as he languished 35 lengths behind the leader in this year’s Lightning Stakes.
They had another go at the problem with a second operation two months ago and he was given one chance to qualify for the final last start.
He ended up running third to Elusive Touch in the Flemington race and that was enough to see him in tomorrow’s field for the final.
“It was a good run the other day and he looked a bit like he was back to his old self,” Fliedner said.
“He is not really a 1000-metre horse but got home pretty good, running 32.7 seconds for his last 600 metres.
“It’s certainly encouraging and, fingers crossed, we have got him back.”
Tollesprit has won four races from 16 career starts with a further three placings.
The majority of his races have been against quality fields though, in fact nine of his starts have been in black type events.
Things looked very promising for the horse when he had his first run as a three year old and came within a length of beating Starspangledbanner in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield.
He’s won more than a quarter of a million dollars and Fliedner says it could be plenty more if he’s put in better positions.
A get back horse, Tollesprit has been guilty in the past of giving the leaders just too much of a head start.
“I think he will still get back a bit on Saturday but it is a winnable race for him,” Fliedner said.
It’s a crucial race long term as well, the trainer can’t really prepare a spring program until he knows exactly what shape his horse is in and how he’s performing.
“You have got to take it one run at a time when they have had a wind operation but hopefully his breathing is right now as I want to get him out to a mile (1600m),” Fliedner said.
“I’m really hoping he can get back to the level he was at before, especially as he’s only four and hasn’t had that many starts.”