Trainer Adam Trinder is not expecting too much when former Tasmanian Derby winner Jerilderie Letter makes his long-awaited return from injury at Mowbray on Wednesday night.
Jerilderie Letter will be opposed to a smart field of sprinters in the Open Handicap and Trinder will be satisfied if the six-year-old finishes in the first half of the field.
The gelding hasn’t raced since he hurt a tendon while finishing fifth at Flemington in March 2017.
“The horse is very fit but is still very big,” Trinder said.
“His wind is very good but his body weight is quite high – he’s 80 to 100 kg heavier than what I’d like.
“I can’t get that weight off him and don’t want to pound him out at home so he needs some exposures (in races) which means, realistically, he can’t win at this stage.
“After 19 months off the scene, he’s going to take a little bit to come to hand.”
Trinder recently gave Jerilderie Letter two barrier trials in the space of six days.
He won his first trial at Longford then went to Hobart where Trinder said the ground was firmer than he had anticipated.
”I asked Ismail Toker to just let him bowl along and quicken up the last 600m in about 36 seconds on the bridle, which he did,” Trinder said.
“He ran last as a result but it was a day out and took a little bit of weight off him.
“He’s in pretty good order but I just feel he will take two, three or maybe even four runs before he’s really competitive.
“Realistically, from the wide draw (on Wednesday night) he’ll go back so if he beats half of them home I’ll be really happy.”
Trinder said Jerilderie Letter’s injury was “just one of those things.”
“The track at Flemington was firm but I don’t think that was a factor,” the trainer said.
“He’d had a reasonably long preparation coming through the Devonport Cup then running in the Jockey Club Cup where Steven Arnold rode him and suggested he didn’t stay.
”Even though the horse was a Derby winner against his own age I agreed with him.
“So we revised our plans and brought him back to 1600m for the Mowbray Stakes where he ran second to Hellova Street then took him to Melbourne.
“It ended up a long, checkered campaign.”
Trinder said Jerilderie Letter had been brought along slowly for his return.
“He’s been in constant training for six months and we’ve done everything right,” the trainer said.
“His legs are good so now we’ve just got to expose him and get him back into winning form.
Greg Mansfield - The Examiner