Lochinvar Art Returning This Week
By Adam Hamilton
THE wait is over.
Australia’s champion pacer Lochinvar Art will make his racing comeback in Saturday night’s Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup.
Trainer-driver David Moran confirmed the exciting news after Lochinvar Art thrilled him in a track workout.
It followed a Melton trial last Tuesday when the Hunter and Victoria Cup winner finished a close second to Andy Gath’s classy former Kiwi pacer Tango Tara.
“I was happy enough with the trial, but it really woke him up … he’s been a different horse since,” Moran said.
“He’s been sensational at home since. His work the other day was fantastic. He’s ready to go.”
It will be Lochinvar Art’s first race since winning the Hunter Cup at Melton on February 6, last year.
It capped an incredible streak where he won 10 of his 11 starts and finished a close second in the other.
Soon after that Hunter Cup win, Lochinvar Art developed a hoof abscess which turned into so much more and impacted his entire leg.
Moran leant on close friend and on-track rival Luke McCarthy to help resurrect Lochinvar Art.
“He spent a few months up there with Luke and Belinda because we wanted to take the opportunity to stand him at stud while he had his rehab,” Moran said.
“They’ve done a fantastic job with him. I picked him up on Inter Dominion final weekend and he’s been back home since. He was very fit when I got him back.
“It’s really been about those final touches and getting a bit of speed back into him now.”
As happy as Moran is, he concedes Lochinvar Art will be vulnerable first-up from such a long break.
“He’s ready to go for sure, but he’s as good as I can get him at home. He’ll improve a lot from the run and another one after that before the Hunter Cup,” he said.
“I think he’ll run really well and he can win, but I’m not going there expecting to win at this stage.”
Last Saturday night’s impressive Bendigo Cup winner Spirit Of St Louis will back-up against Lochinvar Art at Shepparton.
“He’s staying down,” co-trainer Luke McCarthy said. “He’s come through Bendigo well so he’ll run this week and again the week after in the Ballarat Cup. Then it’s two weeks into the Hunter Cup.”
McCarthy said stable stars King Of Swing and Expensive Ego were also closing to resuming.
King Of Swing will make a hit-and-run raid on the Hunter Cup.
“We’re talking with the owners (of Expensive Ego) this week to decide whether he goes to the Hunter Cup or stays here to be fresher for the Miracle Mile,” McCarthy said.