Late last year Andrew and Lyn Neal thought they had lost their star trotter Credit Master.
The nine-win gelding was scratched from the Inter Dominions as a result of a virus and the Cambridge trainers have taken a cautious approach with his return.
“He came back from near death,” Andrew Neal said. “He had a massive virus and we had to scratch him out of the Inter Dominions.
“He took two months or more to come right. His temperature was 39 and 40 (degrees) for two weeks. We thought we may have lost him at some stage.
“But we got him back and spelled him. He came back and was not too far off racing before the lockdown, then he went back out to the paddock.”
Neal said the enforced break as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be a blessing in disguise for the six-year-old son of Muscle Mass.
“It’s not a bad thing in a way. He has come back looking enormous and he’s probably going to trial in two weeks.”
Neal doesn’t have any initial plans in-store for Credit Master but he is eyeing a potential campaign in Canterbury in spring.
“We will race him through the winter, back off a little bit, and then look at the spring,” he said.
“We will try and get him down there (Christchurch). We could have probably gone last year, but we thought he hadn’t had that many starts, he wasn’t that experienced. But this year he will be.”
The Neals own a 50 acre property near Cambridge, which includes a 900m track, and it has been a blessing for the couple over the last few months.
“We put most of the racehorses out, we only had four, we have got a small team,” Neal said. “Then we did some breakers from the sales. One or two were on the treadmill.
“We complied with all the rules and still got a bit done.”
The benefits of their private training set-up were seen at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday where the couple attempted to qualify two of their stable runners.
Exciting juvenile Alterior Motif took out the 2200m heat but failed to qualify as a result of an early indiscretion, while three-year-old filly Disco Fairy secured her ticket to race.
“They were ready to trial before we went into lockdown,” Neal said. “I worked them through, gave them a little bit of time off and then brought them back.
“I took them to qualify at Cambridge on Thursday. I won it with a nice horse (Alterior Motive), but when he came out of the gate he jumped a shadow. He lost 20 or 30m but settled and won.
“We will just do a bit more education and he will come back.
“Disco Fairy is a nice, honest, little filly while Alterior Motive has got raw ability.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk