Karaka Million winner returns

Karaka Million winner returns
Chris Rutten leads in Scott Base after his win in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m). Photo: Sharon Chapman
Last year’s Karaka Million 3YO (1600m) winner Scott Base will make his raceday return in the Waka Property, Building and Maintenance Handicap (1200m) at Awapuni on Thursday.
The son of Dalghar has been off the scene since running fourth in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) last October.
The lightly-raced gelding underwent surgery to remove a bone chip after the race and his connections have taken a patient approach with his raceday return.
“He had a bone chip and he has just been taken along very quietly,” said part-owner Chris Rutten, who purchased him out of Brighthill Farm’s 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale for $70,000.
“He had the bone chip removed by Dave Keenan (of Matamata Veterinary Services) up north and then he came back here (Horowhenua) to spell for a few months.
“Then he went up north again to go on the water-walker and treadmills with Dave monitoring the horse.
“He deserves a chance, I think, for how good he was.”
Scott Base has successfully returned from a similar surgery previously and Rutten is hoping for another successful outcome.
“This was the second time,” he said. “He had a chip before the Karaka Million, which we had removed, and then he had this one.”
Scott Base had a pleasing three-year-old season, winning the Karaka Million 3YO before going on to win the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m).
He then returned to compete in all three legs of last year’s Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival.
Rutten is looking forward to Scott Base’s return after a 13-month layoff, and was pleased with his two lead-in trials last month.
“They were good, he was running on, so I was quite happy with that,” he said.
Formerly trained at Otaki by Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard, Scott Base is now in the care of Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards, who trained Yourdeel to two Group One victories last season for Rutten.
“The horse was already up north and Jamie has been really good,” he said.
Scott Base will jump from barrier three on Thursday and he will be reunited with jockey Rosie Myers who rode him to victory in the Karaka Million.
Rutten has realistic expectations heading into Thursday after such a long layoff, however, he does hold concerns over Scott Base’s allotted 60kg weight.
“It is his first time back and he has got a bit of weight on him, 60kg, which is not ideal, but you have got to start somewhere,” he said.
Rutten said Richards has been happy with Scott Base’s progress and he is looking at getting a line on him on Thursday in order to map out a summer campaign for the five-year-old.
“He’s very happy with the horse and is looking to see how he acquits himself and get a guide on him.
“I don’t think he has pushed him hard, he’s just been taking him along gently.”