El Segundo stands up to trial

Multiple Group One winner winner El Segundo has moved closer to making a comeback from injury after contesting a trial at Cranbourne yesterday.

Trainer Colin Little said the seven-year-old wasn’t asked to do much in the 990-metre hit out on Monday.

Ridden by Michelle Payne, he only beat home stablemate Rubijon in the five-horse field.

"You wouldn’t have known he’d had a trial but that is what we wanted," Little said.

"He came out, dropped back, and she never let him off the bit."

El Segundo finished about seven lengths behind Sand Sweeper who won the trial by 1-1/2 lengths from Rigotune in 61.09s.

Little had hoped to run El Segundo at Cranbourne in a more suitable 800-metre trial on Tuesday but because is was scheduled for late in the day he feared the ground could cut up and be too risky for the gelding.

El Segundo has been off the scene with a superficial digital flexor tendon injury to his near foreleg and has not raced since he won the 2007 Cox Plate.

Little said the early signs were encouraging that stem cell therapy had worked but he was still unsure about making the Group Two Carlyon Stakes at Moonee Valley on January 23 his comeback run.

"It is his likely return but he is no good thing to run in it," Little said.

"As far as we can tell he pulled up okay but it is early days and we have to see."

Rubijon is a Ballarat Cup winner and last raced when second to stablemate Blutigeroo in the Hobart Cup (2200m) in February 2007.

Little said the gelding who stands 17 hands and weighs around 620kg had suffered injury problems in the past two years including a suspensory ligament.

Meanwhile Glen Boss will ride Turffontein in a crucial trial at Cranbourne on Tuesday ahead of his departure for New Zealand next Monday.

Turffontein is one of the favourites for the Group One Telegraph Handicap at Trentham on January 17 and Boss will ride him in the $1 million feature should he please in the trial.

Turffontein hasn’t raced since finishing second to Swick in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.

By Robert Windmill