The perseverance of owner John Allen has paid a dividend at Sandown with Convict Sam scoring in a blanket finish.
Convict Sam spent more than two years away from racing after injuring a tendon as a three-year-old and after one start in his current campaign made it back into the winner’s enclosure by taking out the Ladbrokes Same Race Multi Handicap (1600m) on Wednesday.
Under the guidance of Declan Bates, Convict Sam ($7.50) scored in a blanket finish by a head from Galactic Express ($10), with the $4.20 favourite Translator a short-half-head away third.
Convict Sam had won a Donald 2000m maiden as a three-year-old before trainer Archie Alexander set the son of Fiorente (Ire) on a staying path. The now six-year-old finished fourth in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) at Caulfield before running 11th in the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington in 2019.
It was after that run that Convict Sam suffered a serious tendon injury and the gelding was not sighted until a midfield finish in a Cranbourne barrier trial in early October. He then made his racing return behind Saccharo over 1600m at Bendigo last month.
“One of the main owners John Allen and Lee Evison, they rehabbed the horse,” Alexander said. “John did a lot of work behind the scenes himself at his property. We can take a bit of credit, but John and Lee Evison deserve the main credit because he had been off for such a long time.
“Not many owners give a horse two years off, see them come back and win in town.”
While there was support in the market for Convict Sam, Alexander thought after such a long break the gelding may have needed one more start.
“We were hopeful, but realistically looking for him next start, but it’s nice to be proven wrong and I’m really happy for the owners,” Alexander said. “It was only a benchmark 64 today, but he’s a nice horse and he could win a Saturday city race.”