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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Relief was the major reaction of trainer and part-owner Justin Prentice after Major Martini was an effortless winner of the group 3 $30,000 Better Your Bet With TABtouch RWWA Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

Prentice and his big team of co-owners had endured 19 months of apprehension and concern about the young pacer’s future after he had sustained a mystery injury when a neck second to Patronus Star in the WA Derby early in April of last year.

“Major Martini pulled up a bit scratchy after his Derby run, and it took us a long time to work out what was wrong with him,” said Prentice. “Finally, an MRI scan revealed that he had a bruised pedal bone in his nearside front leg.

“He had special shoes fitted to help the injury heal. We tried to bring him back for the Westbred Classic, but he wasn’t quite right, and he also missed the Golden Nugget.”

Prentice has brought Major Martini along slowly in his current preparation, and the Art Major four-year-old was a warm $1.40 favourite for Friday nighty’s event — his first appearance for 19 months.

Gary Hall jnr jumped Major Martini straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier, and after modest sections of 32.3sec. and 30.1sec. for the opening quarters of the final mile, Major Martini sprinted over the final 400m sections in 27.4sec. and 28.1sec.

He was not extended in beating $9 chance Euphoria by just under two lengths, rating 2.0.7. Otis ($9) who raced three back on the pegs, fought on to finish third.

Major Martini now has had 15 starts for seven wins, seven placings and stakes of $285,353.

“Hopefully, he will be racing at his best at Christmas time,” said Prentice. “There is still a long time to go, and we’ll worry about it (his program) when we get there. I think he has the ability to be a Cups horse.

“He hasn’t had a lot of racing and has had a long time off. So, we will just take our time to get him back to race fitness and let him tell us when he’s ready. He has pulled up well after this win, he was not blowing too much, and his heart rate was good.”