Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Injury robbed Mr Chard of a Cox Plate campaign last spring but trainer Dean Lawson is dreaming of a second chance.
Mr Chard, who has raced just once since last year's Australian Guineas, is set to resume in Saturday's Group Three Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield with Lawson looking forward to having the spring carnival hopeful back at the races.
Mr Chard spent a year on the sidelines through a suspensory ligament injury after his fourth in the Australian Guineas to Shamrocker in March 2011.
His only race since was a midfield finish to Hay List in the Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in March.
"The original plan in the autumn was to just run him in the Newmarket to test his leg and then put him away for the spring," Lawson said.
"But he pulled up so well that we thought about giving him another couple of starts.
"A couple of days before he was going to run again he must have got cast in his box and was lame across his hind quarter so we had to put him in the paddock, which was the original plan anyway."
Mr Chard is not a noted first-up performer so Lawson will be happy to see the four-year-old run a competitive race in the Bletchingly and show he is on track for the carnival.
He said there was no plans "set in concrete" but admitted a Cox Plate mission was enticing.
"There's a lot of options and basically we want to just get over the first hurdle and then map out a path," Lawson said.
"Obviously the Cox Plate would be the main goal, along with 40 other horses, and I'd like to think the horse is good enough to be running in that race."
A dual stakeswinner in his 14 starts, Mr Chard's best Group One showing was in the Australian Guineas (1600m).
"I always thought as an autumn three-year-old that he probably should have nearly won the Australian Guineas and then the Cox Plate would have been the aim in the spring," Lawson said.
"I don't think he's lost any ability, it's just that he's got a leg now that has had an injury."
Mr Chard, who'll be ridden by Dean Holland, is one of 20 Bletchingly nominations which includes Group One winners Green Birdie, Heart Of Dreams and Eagle Falls.