Bott Hoping Kibou Has Spring In His Step For Comeback

The Group 1 formlines around lightly raced three-year-old Kibou say he’s something of an outlier as he returns from injury at Randwick on Saturday aiming to get some match practice up for spring.

Trainer Adrian Bott (Pic: Bradley Photos)

Co-trainer Adrian Bott said Kibou will have a winter cameo, beginning in the 50 Year And Life Member Handicap (1200m), before he rejoins stakes company later in the year.

The gelding needed a knee chip operation after he comfortably beat Golden Mile, who won a Group 1, 2 and 3 among his next four starts, in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) back in August.

“He won well in that race and I think that threw him into Golden Rose contention but he pulled up sore,’’ Bott said.

“He’s had the required time off. We’re probably planning on a very light campaign, just a run or two over the winter to get that fitness back for him and get his rating up.

“There’s some nice targets we’d like to see him compete in over the spring. He’s a class horse and the form around him stood up well.

“We want to give ourselves enough room to turn around for those targets but also condition him so he’s ready for them.”

The winter prep mirrors Kibou’s campaign from a year ago where he had eight months off after his debut in the Breeders’ Plate before winning a maiden at Warwick Farm on June 1 last year then he beat Osipenko and Razeta at Rosehill 17 days later.

He reappeared in August running fourth in the Rosebud before his Up & Coming victory.

Two trials have Kibou, $2.30 with TAB on Thursday, ready to race and Bott made a point of noting the latest at Gosford was a deliberately strong hitout to fit him for a first-up run – which Bott says is no gimme jumping from near the outside and conceding at least 3kg to all rivals.

“With that time off we wanted to make sure he had a nice foundation going to the races for the first time off a long layoff,’’ he said.

“He was able to do that and seemed to do it well, pulled up good, and he’s been building nicely through the campaign.

“Physically there’s no issues with him, moreso just the race set up concerns off a while off and meeting some fitter horses lighter in the weights. Hopefully his class can overcome that.”

Bott and co-trainer Gai Waterhouse have been treading water with two-year-old Royal Tribute for a couple of weeks but he’s set to debut in the Robrick Lodge Handicap (1100m).

The Snitzel colt has won both his trials comfortably, the latest back on May 15, and Bott said with even luck from a tricky gate he expects a forward showing.

“We wanted to kick him off over 1000m or 1100m so this was the option to start him in,’’ he said.

“He’s a nice horse and I think he has his fair share of natural ability that we’ve seen at the trials. It’s not an easy race to kick off in, he’s giving away a bit of experience.”

A return to Sydney and a relatively dry surface will be key to Gundy Bridge finding his best after a shock first-up failure a month ago when he contests the Racing And Sports Handicap (1400m).

The gelding was sent out a short priced favourite at Sandown and while he reared in the barriers Bott said the ground wasn’t to his liking.

“He’s not really comfortable at all on heavy tracks. I know he’s got one win on it down at Kembla but I still feel he doesn’t handle it and he never travelled in that race in Melbourne,’’ he said.

“I’d be very forgiving of that run, he seems back in good shape and hopefully we can get him to bounce back to form.”

– Racing NSW

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