Astute Kialla trainer Michael Carter concedes an unfortunate combination of illness and injury that has seen Special Talent sidelined for the best part of a year could prevent the classy speedster from living up to his name.
Special Talent missed five months in 2020 due to kidney problems and the son of Fernando Bale has had two starts back after sitting out another five months with a knee injury, with wins at Shepparton and The Meadows boosting his impressive record to 13 from 29.
He ran second to Yozo Bale in the G2 Ballarat Cup final last December but just weeks later was cut down by injury after a flying 29.34sec victory at Sandown Park.
“He was six in front going into the catching pen but he was crashed into and turned sideways and hurt his knee,” Carter explained.
“He’s back firing again now.
“He’s only ever had one crack at a good race and he ran second (Ballarat Cup). I’d love to get six months out of him but in saying that he turned three about three months ago.
“He’s going good but you just don’t know good he could have been if he hadn’t had all the bad problems.”
Since returning to action Special Talent has taken up where he left off.
He won first-up at Shepparton over 385m in a Best Of Night 21.79sec and then stepped straight up to 525m at The Meadows, where he was a commanding winner of a Grade 5 heat, clocking 30.29sec on a wet track.
Carter is optimistic he can continue making up for lost time when he exits box two, from where he boasts a perfect three from three career record, in Saturday’s fourth event at 7.37pm, where he’s TAB’s $2.40 favourite.
“He’s got to begin because the ‘red’ (Spring Gun) was enormous when it ran second in their heat,” Carter said.
“He’s never been beaten out of the ‘check’ and if he gets to the front, he’ll be hard to catch. It will probably depend how close the ‘red’ is.
“He was well underdone for the heat and I don’t know much the track was ‘off’ but I’m tipping it was close to a ‘30’ run. He’s run 29.73sec around The Meadows before.”
Carter will have two other runners at The Meadows, with Smokey Cape a $10 chance in the first, while Extra Speed is $3.40 favourite in Race 10.
“Extra Speed averages 5.01sec for the first split at The Meadows over 28 starts,” Carter said.
“I don’t think any other dog would do that but in all those starts she’s never had any trouble behind her.
“This is a city race but it’s a drop in class to what she’s been racing against.
“Smokey Cape is a fast dog but doesn’t have any box speed. He’s a very good railer so drawing near the fence will help.”
WATCH: Special Talent (6) strolls to a 30.29sec heat win at The Meadows on June 9.
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