Imported stayer Ruscello returns to the race track in the $90,000 Jeep Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday following a long layoff due to injury.
Ruscello made headlines during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival when he led all of the way to win the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Derby Day forcing himself into the final field for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington three days later.
The OTI Racing owned gelding was then sent out as a $51 chance in the ‘Race That Stops The Nation’ but after setting the pace in the early and middle stages faded in the straight to beat one runner home when twenty-third to the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente.
Russcello has only been to the races once since for a dismal last of fifteen in the $80,000 The Pavilion Plate (1700m) at Caulfield on April 12, 2014.
Trainer Archie Alexander explained that Ruscello has been away from the races for over fifteen months recovering from a nasal operation after he suffered a head injury while in the paddock spelling.
“Basically the nasal passage was being blocked because it wasn’t functioning right so they had to do an operation on that and since then it’s been good,” Alexander told AAP.
“We haven’t rushed him but everything is going well.”
The Ballarat trainer is slowly building up his numbers at his country base and is hoping that with a bit of success from Ruscello he can add to his thirty-five horses he already has in his stable.
“I had fourteen winners this season so you’d hope to build from that and just keep building and having more winners,” Alexander said.
James Winks takes the ride in the Jeep Handicap on Ruscello who has drawn barrier two in the twelve horse field.
Ladbrokes.com.au have rated Ruscello as one of the outsiders of the field and is marked at $81 for his long awaited return.
Promising galloper Raposo heads the market order at $2.30 ahead of Moonee Valley track specialist Digitalism at $3.60 with the Peter Moody trained Sino Eagle and Vizhaka from the Mornington stables of Monica Cid sharing the next line of betting at $7.50.