Local trainer Joan Pracey is throwing Upstacker straight into the pressure cooker at Hawkesbury on Thursday as he makes his race return in the Ainsworth Game Technology Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m).
The six-year-old is on the comeback trail after suffering a career-threatening injury a few months ago when kicking out on the water walker and suffering a bad cut to his back leg.
“He had quite a while off due to the injury,” Pracey said. “It was pretty nasty and was a bad cut.
“It’s just a relief to get him back to 100 percent fitness and back on the track because I doubted he would at one stage.
“It’s good to have him back, but this is the toughest race of the day.”
Upstacker, which had been placed in 10 of its 31 starts prior to the injury, is coming off a good barrier trial win at Warwick Farm on May 5 and apprentice Taylor Marshall, with his 1.5kg claim takes the ride.
Despite not winning in four attempts at 1000 metres, Pracey thinks it’s an ideal way to start Upstacker’s new campaign after a long layoff.
“It was a soft trial and they didn’t run a quick time but when Brenton Avdulla got off him he said he only did what he asked of him and ran well within himself,” she said.
“It would normally be a bit too short for him and he’ll need the run, but in saying that the 1000 metres will suit him at this stage.
“Taylor’s been riding really well but he’s so light and will have to carry a big lead bag. The horse does like the kids on him though and runs well for apprentices.”