In a time before COVID-19 had brought the world to a standstill, Hasta La War was one of the most exciting gallopers in South Australia.
The Sue Murphy-trained stayer looked to have it all in front of him heading towards the 2020 Adelaide Cup, winning four successive races before his luckless defeat in the Birthday Cup.
He was a $7 second favourite for the Adelaide Cup before vets discovered a spot in his tendon that derailed plans, but the five-year-old will make his long-awaited comeback at Morphettville this weekend.
Murphy said she was both relieved and excited to have him back at the races.
“It’s all looking promising,” Murphy said.
“He’s got the all-clear.
“It’s the only race we could pinpoint for him at this stage. We just said we’ll start him off here (over 1200m) and then look for a 1600m race for him down the track. We’ll just see what the program throws up for him.”
Hasta La War has been kept busy despite his injury setback and Murphy said she opted to play a patient game rather than put too much pressure on the horse and try and rush him back for the last month’s Adelaide Cup.
“He’s basically been in work the whole time, so he doesn’t get too big and fat,” Murphy said.
“We have just been trying to keep the miles into his legs.
“We were looking (at resuming earlier) but then thought we’ve waited so long now, let’s do the right thing and hold off.”
Murphy’s stable has been in great form, with six wins from her past 11 runners, and she said in-form stablemate Farooq is being targeted towards Sunday week’s $70,000 Terang Cup.
“He’s been going great,” Murphy said.
“There isn’t a lot for him here in SA so we will have a crack at the Terang Cup with him.”