By Jordan Gerrans
It was a proud moment for all involved to see comeback gelding Simply Splashing back on a racetrack last week and now the team behind him have Cleveland Bay Handicap ambitions next month.
The well-travelled son of Testa Rossa spent the best part of 16 months off the racing scene, recovering from a knee operation, before making his return at Townsville’s Cluden Park last Thursday afternoon.
Purchased by Ingham’s Mat Adornetto, a former trainer himself, specifically for the Cleveland Bay Handicap of 2020 – the team have had to bide their time and take it slow and steady, building the horse back up slowly, with the seven-year-old.
Simply Splashing has been through several different trainers over the years before Adornetto selected Townsville’s Joanna Hassett for his northern campaign as the Wulguru trainer is known for her patience and using swimming to rehab her gallopers.
In his first run since April of last year, Simply Splashing snuck up the Cluden Park fence to hit the line nicely and now looks towards Saturday’s $30,000 Open Handicap over 1200 metres.
“It was a really proud moment to see him get back to the track the other day because you never know how they are going to come back after something like that, especially as he has a bit of age on him now, as well,” Hassett said.
“He had to go through a vigorous vet check to get passed to race again.
“In his mind, he is definitely still 100 per cent a racehorse, he wants to get out there, be professional and get the job done.
“We have had to take him slow and build him up, but it was hard because it is similar to an older person, I guess, they are right in the mind but their body can feel the aches and pains.”
According to Hassett, owner Adornetto has been patient and supportive with her work to bring his gelding back to the races after he paid a “fair amount of money” for Simply Splashing to be a Cleveland Bay contender last year.
The winner of seven career races from 38 starts spelled at Lawrence Reys’ property at Gordonvale before making his way back to Townsville.