Much-travelled Historian ready to resume

The Te Rapa meeting on Saturday week could make the long-awaited reappearance of smart galloper Historian.

Historian is now in the stable of Cambridge trainer Gary Alton, who plans to kick off his campaign in the Listed $50,000 1400-metre event on Waikato Times Gold Cup day.

Historian hasn’t raced since finishing second to Jimmy Choux in the 2011 Group I Telecom NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie for trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue.

With a record of two wins and five placings from seven starts, Historian headed to Hong Kong after his courageous Derby performance, but failed to get to the racetrack in Asia. He entered the stable of Derek Cruz, but suffered a tendon problem and it was decided to return him to New Zealand.

On the recommendation of a veterinarian, Historian joined the Alton stable to undergo a slow buildup, consisting mainly of work on the treadmill.

“He’s been with us for about five months and in that time he’s only been ridden four times around the arena by Catherine (Alton’s partner, Catherine Cameron), had two trials and every other bit of his work has been on the treadmill,” said Alton. “He’s a big strong horse and he was quite bolshy when he first came back. I could imagine how tough he would have been over there in Hong Kong.”

In his first public appearance for almost 18 months, Historian finished third in an open 1000-metre trial at Te Aroha on October 30 when ridden by Vinny Colgan.

“He pulled like hell in that first trial and Vinny had trouble holding him going around to the start,” said Alton. “We changed gear and he settled well in his next trial at Cambridge for James (McDonald).”

Historian again finished third in that second trial, less than three-quarters of a length from the winner, and McDonald had him under a strong hold. “He was impressive and he’s actually relaxed quite a bit since then,” said Alton.

Historian has been nominated for both the Group II City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie and the Group II Wellington Cup at Trentham, but is unlikely to get to either 2400-metres feature.

“He had a little bit of a foot problem in both front feet and we had to back off him a bit,” said Alton. “We put bar shoes on and he’s all right now, but instead of the City Of Auckland we might look at the Rich Hill Mile at Ellerslie for him.

“He’s on a Rating 90 and I just hope he can get in the Te Rapa sprint. He’s ready to kick off.”