Sir Busker is on the mend with a York return pencilled in after his right eye was saved by veterinary staff at the Dubai Equine Hospital.
The highly-popular gelding is trained by William Knight and owned by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds and gave connections a day to remember when winning the Group Two York Stakes last season.
He was then a gallant third at 100-1 in the Juddmonte International, before starting out with a second-placed run in the Tandridge Stakes early this year and then flying out to the Middle East.
Ninth in the Neom Turf Cup at Riyadh and 10th in the Dubai Turf at Meydan, the bay then suffered from an eye injury that required him to stay put in Dubai and undergo an operation.
The procedure – which took flesh from his haunches and grafted it onto his eye – was a success and prevented the eye from being removed and from his vision being completely lost on the right side.
Sir Busker has since returned home and has been eased back into work by Knight, who is hopeful he can be back for the Ebor meeting on the Knavesmire in August.
“We’ve just had to take it steady with him, but I would love to try and have him back for the York August meeting – maybe something like the Strensall Stakes,” he said.
“That’s what I’m thinking about, we’re not going to rush him to get there but we hope he gets there in his own time.
“It’s been a long road back but we’ve managed to save the eye and he’s got vision in there, it’s nice to have him back and have him in work.”
Knight feels a return to the routine of training has done Sir Busker the world of good, and by the time he takes to the track again his wounded eye should bear very few signs of the operation.
“He was quiet for a good period of time when he got back, not his usual self, but he’s just started to perk up in the past couple of weeks,” he said.
“By getting him back into work we’ve got the whole system moving again and that’s what has done him good, rather than just going on the walker and being led out, when that happens they start to lose a lot of condition. Now he’s back in work and I think he’s done very well for it.”
Of the healing process of the eye, he added: “It’s a bit pink but by the time it gets to racing I would hope it will have gone, aesthetically it doesn’t look great but actually it is offering the eye protection in a way.
“It’s quite bizarre, the whole thing, but it is an amazing procedure.
“The first thing was saving his eye and then making sure he’s still got vision in it, which he definitely has though the percentage is hard to gauge until the skin graft properly disappears.
“Then we can get a proper look, but if you wave your hand on that side he blinks, so there’s definitely some vision there.”