Western Symbol is set to return to racing for the first time in over a year after being included in the nominations for the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) that will be run on the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday.
Western Symbol stamped himself as a consistent Group level performer in 2012 but suffered a serious tendon injury, after finishing third in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick on October 20 last year, which kept him away for racing for 13 months.
The son of High Chaparral made his first public appearance when winning a barrier trial over 1050 metres at Randwick on July 13 and since returning to full work in October has produced three fair barrier trial performances.
He was given a soft trial over 1200 metres at Randwick on November 1 and finished third at the same track three weeks later before finishing second behind Pheidon on December 2 with a performance that indicated he was ready for a return to racing.
Leading jockey Tommy Berry partnered Western Symbol in his final barrier trial appearance and said that he was happy with the feel he got from the seven-year-old but will miss the ride on the gelding in the Villiers Stakes after being suspended for failing to ride Smart Man to the line in the final race at Sha Tin on Sunday.
“Western Symbol has come back in great order, looking forward to his come back,” Berry posted on Twitter after riding Western Symbol in a trial.
Western Symbol progressed through the grades in 2011, recording three victories before finishing third in the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m), and stamped himself as a consistent stayer during the 2012 Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained galloper recorded his maiden Group 3 victory with a win in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 7 and won the Listed Japan Racing Association Plate (2000m) before finishing second in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury and fourth in the Listed McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick.
He started his 2012 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a disappointing tenth place finish in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) but returned to his best form with a second place finish behind Mourayan in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) before his preparation was prematurely ended by the tendon injury.
Western Symbol is set to face a tough field in the Villiers Stakes; with Coup Ay Tee, Destiny’s Kiss, Monton, Midsummer Sun, Limes and Absalon all included in the nominations for the Group 2 event.