RUPTURE has had a memorable journey.
The seven-year-old gelding is one of three horses nominated for Country Racing Victoria's horse of the year award, after taking home three country cups last season.
But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the temperamental racehorse.
Horsham-based trainer Paul Preusker's early attempts to break him in almost ended in disaster.
"He nearly killed me there in the early days," Preusker laughed.
"I was breaking him in and he was quite a savage horse. He's cleaned up a lot of people in his time.
"He's good at baring his teeth and giving you the legs, and one day I wasn't quite giving it enough attention and he cleaned me up good and proper."
The incident put Preusker into intensive care with a severe head injury, and the hard-nosed horseman still has no recollection of the event.
But, undeterred, Preusker persisted to get Rupture into racing condition.
Once he was ready, he was sent to Adelaide-based trainers Richard and Chantelle Jolly.
"I got the job finished and, honestly, I was pretty rapt to see the end of him," Preusker said.
"We'd had a rough trot in the early days."
Rupture immediately showed potential with the Jollys, winning its first race in April, 2017.
But the problems with its temperament continued.
"We sent him to Jolly's and I think he ended up dealing with the same thing I did," Preusker said.
"That's how I ended up getting [Rupture] back (in 2018) - I guess they got sick of him as well and moved him on.
"I thought I would have another go at him. See if he might have grown a brain, which he had.
"He turned up in great order, a sound horse, so it wasn't actually too difficult to get going again."
Rupture spelled for 42 weeks before persistence began to pay off for Preusker in mid-2019.
Rupture won six of its 12 starts since June, including victories in the Warracknabeal, Werribee and Hamilton Cups.
"It was great reward for the owners," Preusker said.
"He was an incredible horse really. He just always wanted to compete and was just a strong horse."
Unfortunately, however, an untimely lower supersensory injury in May this year ruined Rupture's hot-streak and put question marks over its career.
He led at the 400 metre mark for the Lexus Trophy at Flemington before succumbing to the injury.
"It's really unfortunate the season was cut short," Preusker said.
"We'd hoped he could come back for the big prep this year and head for the spring, but we've had to pull up and rest him at the moment.
"The main game is just to get him back sound and worry about being a racehorse after that.
"The injury is looking pretty positive so far, so fingers crossed."
With Rupture's racing career in question, the Country Victoria award could be a final hurrah to cap off its exceptional journey.
"He certainly deserves to be there. It'd be great for the owners for him to get recognised," Preusker said.
"He's come a long way, that's for sure."
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