Well-bred but injury-plagued speedster Charmed An Taken will be striving to make up for lost time – and plenty of it – in Sunday night’s heats of the Sale Motor Group Summer Cup (520m).
Trained by Andrew Paraskevas at Cranbourne South, Charmed An Taken is a member of the outstanding Barcia Bale – Father Of Mine litter that includes Nervous An Weird (Group 3 SA Derby), My American Girl (Group 3 SA Oaks) and Eye Got It (31 wins).
“Charmed An Taken was one of the fastest in the litter but he’s been a touch unlucky,” Paraskevas explained.
“He ruptured a stopper tendon at Sandown about this time last year.
“He won the race and had a good box in the final but he pulled up on three legs. He had a long, long time off and unfortunately hasn’t had a lot of racing.
“We tried to treat the injury conservatively, without surgery, and gave him a couple of runs back and he seemed okay. But then it let go again so he had surgery.”
After seven months recuperating on the sidelines, Charmed An Taken, winner of 13 from 21 and runner-up in the Group 2 Great Chase in 2018, resumed in June.
He’s won seven of his 11 starts since returning, missing a place just once, however Paraskevas isn’t convinced he’ll get back to his best.
“When he first came back he trialled as good, if not better, than ever,” Paraskevas said.
“But his form has been a little bit up and down.
“He’s going fine but I don’t think he’s at 100 per cent, for whatever reason. It’s not the injury, whether it’s that he’s getting older and lost all that time racing, I’m not sure.”
Charmed An Taken will step back up to 500m for the first time since he was injured last November when he contests the last of three Summer Cup heats at Sale, with the $10,000 to-the-winner final to be held on Sale Cup night, next Thursday.
And it will be no easy task, with Charmed An Taken (box 3) drawn alongside Jason Thompson’s Melbourne Cup finalist Flynn (box 2), whose last two starts have resulted in fifths in the Melbourne Cup and a Hobart Thousand heat.
“To be honest, I wasn’t too rapt when I saw the heats,” Paraskevas offered ruefully.
“I thought they might have been a bit easier than they are. There’s some very good dogs in the heats – Flynn is in our heat and Slingshot Hammer is there as well.
“Charmed An Taken hasn’t raced over 500 since he came back but he’s run home fairly well at Bendigo and Ballarat in his last two starts and I wanted to get him back up to 500m sooner rather than later because he’s missed so much racing.”