QUEANBEYAN trainer Jack Van Duren isn’t ruling out sending Tuscan Duke back for a second crack in Sydney but admits the last-start winner remains a day to day proposition.
Tuscan Duke rounded off his most recent preparation in the best possible style on Queanbeyan Cup day last Sunday, taking out the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1100m) ahead of stablemate Gaelic Cloud.
The result was a rare quniella for Van Duran and one that will likely see the Medecis stallion go round again after injury concerns had threatened a premature end to his racing career.
After his first race in town as a promising four-year-old, Tuscan Duke was diagnosed with fractures in his fetlock that saw him spelled for more than a year.
“The vet came around and had a look at him and said we’d be looking at maybe one more preparation and we might be lucky enough to get one more win out of him,” Van Duran said of Tuscan Duke’s prognosis at the time.
“Tuscan looked like he was going to be anything early in the piece so I thought he was good enough to be given another shot and we’ve just been easing him through it.
“I still think he’s good enough to win in Sydney if we can get him right but he hasn’t been fit enough for me to take him back.”
While Tuscan Duke’s injuries have prevented him hitting his full potential, Van Duran said the six-year-old had shown enough to warrant another preparation.
Sunday’s win followed on from recent placings in Nowra, Wagga Wagga and Queanbeyan and he’ll now enjoy a short spell before hopefully returning to the track early next year.
“Someone asked me why I’d turn him out now after he’s just run first but that’s been my plan with him from the start of this prep and I’m not going to change my mind now,” Van Duran said.
“Those fractures mean he’s a day to day proposition and if we go over the top and stuff him, that’ll be the end of him.”