Grand Impact makes his return at Caulfield

Lightly raced Grand Impact is set to make his racetrack return at Caulfield after a 16-month absence courtesy of a hard to diagnose shoulder injury.

A winner at his first three starts, which included the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in October 2022, Grand Impact makes his return in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.

It will be the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained four-year-old’s first outing since running 12th to In Secret in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes(1200m) at Flemington 17 days after his victory in the Blue Sapphire Stakes.

“He’s had 16 months off,” Price said.

“We discovered a condition called OCD in a shoulder – osteochondritis dissecans.

“It’s where you get a lesion of cartilage flake off and it’s in the weight bearing joint surface.

“It causes inflammation and pain, and it took us a while to find it, and it’s inoperable.”

After being given time to get over the complaint, Grand Impact won an official barrier trial at Cranbourne on February 5 and has been seen at the Cranbourne jump-outs on two more occasions.

Price said the entire had been given a thorough grounding for his return but will wear heart-bar shoes on his front feet.

“He’s got a bit of a heel at the moment,” Price said.

“He’s had plenty of time off, but he’s had plenty of time down at Lauriston Park on the beach and he’s in good condition now.

“He seems sound, but I’d be surprised if after all that time off he’d come out and win.

“Hopefully he runs well and then trains on.”

Grand Impact, to be ridden by Melbourne’s premiership leader Damian Lane, has been an easing $4.40 second favourite with online bookmakers behind $3.30 top elect Rey Magnerio.

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