Progressive sprinter Halvorsen has given Robbie Griffiths milestone victories as the trainer recovers from surgery for a brain aneurysm.
Griffiths underwent the operation in August with doctors only allowing the Cranbourne-based trainer to resume restricted duties from November before letting him increase his workload.
At Griffiths’ first official day back at trackwork, Halvorsen scored at Flemington on November 9, then won again at the trainer’s first on-track appearance, again at Flemington, on December 14.
Griffiths hopes the next milestone is met when Halvorsen runs in the Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Wednesday.
This time though Griffiths will not be trackside having travelled to the Gold Coast to start his inspection of 1100 yearlings entered for the Magic Millions Sale beginning on January 8.
“I normally go up on January 2 and belt around flat-out to try and look at all the horses,” Griffiths said.
“You try to look at all of them, or as many as you can, but being such a big catalogue and being hot, it’s hard work.
“You get tired, so I thought I would take my time, do it over a bit more time, and enjoy it.”
Griffiths said Halvorsen had been targeted at Wednesday’s race with the sprinter’s work spot-on leading up to the Standish Handicap.
“I reckon he improved a lot from Flemington when he won to his last start when I was happy to just have a hit-out, and if he won, it was a bonus,” Griffiths said.
“The way he won, with such strength, was so pleasing and I think he’s come on again since, so I’m looking for a peak performance in the Standish.
“Every time we’ve targeted him for a particular race, he’s always come through for us and we’re really looking forward to New Year’s Day.”
Griffiths said he would not be aiming too high following Wednesday, all but ruling out the feature autumn sprints.
Instead the VOBIS Gold Sprint at Caulfield in April appeals possibly followed by The Goodwood at Morphettville in May if Halvorsen looks up to Group One grade.
“If his rating is high enough after May then he’ll win his way into bigger and better things in the spring,” Griffiths said.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au