Cambridge galloper Ever Loyal is set to make a long-awaited return to racing back at the Karaka Million racemeeting at Ellerslie on Saturday.
It was at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago that the son of Sebring last raced when finishing fifth in last year’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) before being sidelined with a tendon strain.
A stakes winner who was third behind Embellish in the 2017 Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, Ever Loyal reappeared with a fourth at the recent Cambridge trials and was part of trainer Tony Pike’s contingent who galloped at Ellerslie on Monday morning.
Ridden by Michael McNab, Ever Loyal worked with Pike’s Karaka Million 3YO candidate Surely Sacred and the pair recorded the quickest last 600m (34.62) of the morning.
‘’He’s been in work for a long time and we’ve gradually brought him up,’’ Pike said.
“He was high-class as a three-year-old, but struggled a bit at 1600m. He’s coming up really well and he’ll be kept at 1200m to 1400m for now.”
Ever Loyal will contest Saturday’s Gr.3 Preferment@Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m), for which stablemate Indecision will also be nominated along with the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m).
‘’I’ll wait and see what weight she gets in the Concorde, but she will probably be better off in the Westbury Classic,’’ Pike said.
‘’She’s a lot stronger now and finishing her races off better so should handle the 1400m.’’
Pike will also be represented by the stakeswinner Cyber Attack at Ellerslie on Saturday in the Gr.3 Mongolian Khan Trophy (1200m) and will also nominate Sacred Day for the Collinsonforex Karaka Cup (2200m).