The West

Conners weighs up Newmarket gamble
Clarry Conners. Pic: Getty Images

A tilt at the Newmarket Handicap with a horse coming back from an 18-month injury break might seem like a risk but it's one Clarry Conners is prepared to take.

Tuesday will be a defining day for talented sprinter Decision Time whose fitness will be tested in a barrier trial against Group One winners Hay List and Atomic Force.

"I thought I might do something different and run him first-up in the Newmarket," Conners said.

"He runs in the trial on Tuesday morning and then the weights for the Newmarket come out in the afternoon so we'll look at those.

"He is super. This will be his third trial. He is over all his problems and I couldn't be happier."

The five-year-old's career has been interrupted by feet and muscle problems but he has still managed to earn more than $1.3 million from his 15 starts.

Conners had him primed for the 2011 Newmarket but was forced to abandon that plan when Decision Time went amiss.

The trainer said if Decision Time did not go to Melbourne for the Group One Newmarket (1200m) on March 9, the Group Two Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm a week later was the alternative.

In 2010, Decision Time went within half a length of giving Conners a fifth Golden Slipper when second to Crystal Lily and the trainer is looking to Assail to notch that milestone.

The filly was a race morning scratching from the Magic Millions in January when she was found to have a deep-seated foot abscess which required surgery.

Much of her hoof was cut away to remove the infection and needed time to grow back.

"She had a gallop on Saturday morning and worked home her last 200 metres," Conners said.

"It was easy work. I don't want to put any pressure on her yet.

"I'm hoping to trial her on the fifth of March. That would give her time to have two starts before the Slipper.

"But there's not much to do except keep her ticking over while the foot grows back."

The West Australian

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