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Exciting trotter Chinese Whisper is back in action and ready to show off his speed at Ascot Park this afternoon.
The 4yr-old, who was not 100% when he pulled up after a below-par performance at Omakau last month, has been given the all-clear to resume.
Blood tests showed Chinese Whisper was clearly not at his best for trainer-driver Nathan Williamson when he was beaten by 12 lengths by Only One Way.
"I ran some bloods off him once we got home and he was a bit crook, so I gave him two weeks off," Williamson said.
"I also got a lameness examination done that didn’t show anything too much wrong apart from a couple of wee areas, so we got them sorted and changed his shoeing and a few different wee things."
Chinese Whisper has since had a workout against pacers.
He should test his rivals as long as the 2700m feature trot does not turn into an all-out slog.
"I think he is forward enough to win, especially with the small field," Williamson said.
"He is probably going to improve with the run, so if it came down to a real test of stamina that could be his undoing. But I think he is fit enough to be pretty hard to beat."
Chinese Whisper starts on the 20m mark alongside main rivals Dependra, Rebel Kibbybones and Jimmy Carter.
Williamson will give exciting 3yr-old Pembrook Playboy the first start of a new campaign in race 5.
"He has had two workouts and they were both just what I wanted for him.
"He is in for a big campaign. He is going to do a bit of racing and a bit of tripping around if he keeps coming along the way he has been."
Pembrook Playboy will clash with a talented intermediate grade field in the 2200m pace.
Drawing barrier 1 on the second row of the mobile looks the biggest concern.
"It doesn’t look a great draw on paper. But from where he is at — I think he will keep improving with racing — it could suit him.
"If he can get a crack at them he will be right there, because he is very fast."
T Bone Rawhide will be the first of Williamson’s five starters today, in race 3.
The 6yr-old looked a next-up winner when running into a smart maiden winner in Carnegie Hall in his last start at Winton on Sunday.
"The one that beat him last time looks handy enough," Williamson said.
"He put in a pretty big run, so he should be hard to beat."
Williamson plans to be more aggressive on Triroyale Brigade in race 7 to help the pacer crack a win. He has gone close in several of his recent starts.
"His work and everything is telling me he is so much better this year, but he is just not clinching the deal.
"He has been a sit-and-sprint merchant, but if he punched through well from the second row, I might be a bit more aggressive with him to see whether that suits him a wee bit more."
Longueval disappointed Williamson in his last start at Wyndham behind Willie Go West, who ran a sizzling mile (1609m) time of 1.54.1.
The 3yr-old should not have to go as quickly today.
"I wasn’t happy with him at Wyndham. He didn’t steer . . . well and he was a bit off colour for a couple of days afterwards. But it has been three weeks between runs and we have freshened him.
"His work has been nice, so I am happy enough with him."