Imported stayer Lord Belvedere has returned to winning form at Flemington having come back from colic surgery which forced him to miss a large portion of the racing season.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained gelding was having his third start back in Saturday’s George Watson Handicap (2540m) and came from back in the field to get the better of last-start winner Chapada.
Lord Belvedere ($15) defeated Chapada ($4) by three-quarters of a length and they drew clear of the rest of the pack over the final 200m, with Sin To Win ($6.50) three lengths away third.
The English import won two of his first three Australian starts last year including in a winter staying race at Flemington in July before 2019 spring hopes had to be abandoned.
“He won well here and then got colic,” Eustace said.
“He had an operation and has come through that well. He’s lucky to be alive.
“He’s a tough horse.”
Lord Belvedere had been unplaced in two starts back on heavy tracks but showed his class on Saturday stepping up in distance with added fitness on his side.
Eustace expects Lord Belvedere will still improve a lot off Saturday’s performance and said they would look at upcoming options for the six-year-old.
“‘He’s obviously in open class now but there’s a nice race in him,” he said.
Jockey Ben Melham said Lord Belvedere surprised him a little but had made significant improvement from his second-up race over 2100m at Sandown last month.
“He’s got a bit of class about him,” Melham said.
“The speed was nice for me. I was happy just to ride him cheaply the first half and cut the corner, come out on him and he was very effective late.”