AFTER almost 14 months on the sidelines with a broken leg, Group 1 winner Shima Bar has made a successful return to the racetrack, running third behind Spudtacular at Geelong last Friday night.
The son of Barcia Bale and Shimaguni seemingly had the world at his feet after a brilliant victory in the Group 1 Paw Of Thunder in January last year. A month later, the Andrea Dailly-trained chaser took a heavy tumble in a heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup, sustaining a seemingly career-ending broken leg.
For long periods after the injury, it seemed as if Shima Bar would never race again, despite sustaining the injury at just two years of age. For part-owner David Gleeson, the thrill of getting his star back to the racetrack has turned from an unrealistic dream to a thrilling reality.
“It really was a big thrill to see him back on the track and as it turned out he was probably a little stiff not to get the money. The five cut down hard and it took away his momentum, but we were really happy to see him claw his way back into the race and go down by under a length. Now it’s a matter of how he pulls up in regards to whether he will continue racing. He still has some bone spurs and he’s always a little tender after a run, but he loves to run and it is exciting to have him back,” said Gleeson, who took his star home to help with his rehabilitation after such a serious injury.
“Probably about four months ago was the first time we thought we could get him back to a racetrack. Bob Cummings (part-owner) and I put a lot of work into him with lots of physio and swimming, stretch exercises and rotations. When we’d let him out for a run in the paddocks he was going like a steam train, and he’d run pups into the ground in the runs. It put a thought into our mind that he may make a comeback. The stud game is a tough game – serving around 10 bitches – so we thought if he could withstand the rigours of racing that we’d give it a go,” added Gleeson, who was buoyed by his trial times upon his return.
“He has been trialling around Ballarat and going around the 25.20 mark so that gave us a bit of confidence that he could return. The other advantage is that he only turned three in late February so he certainly wasn’t too old to return.
“We won’t be silly with him but having him back racing with the Daillys is a real joy and when he is done he will come home and enjoy retirement.”
Gleeson is also looking forward to getting Shima Bar’s progeny to the racetrack in 2019.
“I’ve got two Dundee Mist pups by him and they are fantastic. They’ve got great chase and run like hell in the paddocks so that would be a big thrill to get some winners out of Shima Bar.”
To date, Shima Bar has had just 18 starts for 10 wins and four placings and over $119,000 in prizemoney.