Popular gelding Balf’s Choice is on the verge of a return to racing, eight months after almost losing his life to a colic attack.
The seven-year-old will make his comeback in a 1400m race at Murray Bridge on August 8 or the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville seven days later after satisfying trainer Ryan Balfour in an exhibition gallop between races at headquarters on Saturday.
Balf’s Choice has also had two trials and Balfour said the classy galloper had ticked every box and met every challenge when the benchmark was raised in trackwork.
“We took him to the races to simulate the race-day environment and it got him bouncing and thinking,” Balfour said.
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Model Olivia Rogers with Balf’s Choice and trainer Ryan Balfour at Morphettville last year. Picture: Sarah ReedSource:News Corp Australia
“Taking him to Balaklava for the trial the other week really brought him on a lot, and he went to another level on the back of that.
“The Spring Stakes will have real sharp sprinters, so he might be better suited to kick off in the 1400m at Murray Bridge.
“Ultimately, he will improve on the run.
“We just want to see him race well and pull up good, have a good day out and whatever he does there will be 20 per cent improvement in him.”
Balfour has pencilled in the Balaklava Cup on September 9, the Murray Bridge Cup on October 16 and the Tokyo City Cup on October 31 as targets for Balf’s Choice, who contested the inaugural All-Star Mile at Flemington last year.
“We’ve had those races in the back of our mind for a long time, but did not want to get ahead of ourselves, he has been through a lot this boy,” Balfour said.
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Balf’s Choice, ridden by Joe Bowditch, wins the Godolphin Seymour Cup in 2017. Picture: David Thorpe/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“He was on death’s door in December and we brought him back with no expectation, just bring him up really slow and be patient.”
Racing again was not even on Balfour’s mind in December when Balf’s Choice had “life or death” surgery and four metres of bowel was removed.
The gelding was at the Morphettville vet clinic for almost three weeks and Balfour said it did an amazing job in saving the horse’s life.
“All we cared about back then was seeing him get through the colic situation,” Balfour said. “You get attached to a lot of horses, but his personality, he is a magnificent horse.
“He is the gentleman of the stable, always has his head over the gate and wants a pat. Just an absolute gentleman.”
Originally published asBalf’s Choice back from ‘death’s door’ and eyeing return
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