John O'Shea's return to training in his own right has enabled him to reconnect with a yearling he bought in New Zealand.
Kuro (Denman) was snapped up by O'Shea and Jason Abrahams of Champion Thoroughbreds at the 2013 Karaka sale for $180,000 from the draft of Curraghmore Stud and the now six-year-old gelding has proved a wise investment.
Although he raced in elite company as a three-year-old, Kuro's assignments are not as rich these days and he runs in Saturday's Listed Christmas Classic (1200m) at Randwick.
"One of the reasons Jason and I bought him was we felt he'd be a really nice horse that would train on later on in life the way he was bred and that's how it's turned out," O'Shea said.
Kuro, who was bred by Nearco Stud, had three starts for O'Shea as a two-year-old before being transferred to Joe Pride under whom he banked the majority of his A$708,000 prize money while his former trainer headed the Godolphin operation.
Listed wins in the Heritage Stakes and Brian Crowley Stakes prefaced a third in the Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in 2014 and a second in the Gr.1 Galaxy the following year.
"He was really good as a three-year-old then he lost his way a little bit as a four-year-old entire," O'Shea said.
Kuro had an unsuccessful stint with Anthony and Lee Freedman in late 2015 and early 2016.
He was gelded in April last year and the procedure had the desired result in his next preparation when the Listed Starlight Stakes and Takeover Target Stakes boosted his career wins to eight.
O'Shea took over training Champion Thoroughbreds stock after he left Godolphin in April, and will saddle Kuro for a fifth successive black-type race in Saturday's feature.
"It's taken a bit of racing to get himself back in the game but he's in good form," O'Shea said.
He was pleased with Kuro's last-start third in the Listed Razor Sharp Quality (1200m) behind Zestful and I Thought So at Randwick on December 16 and felt a soft barrier provided scope for a first win since January.
Kuro was on the third line of betting with the TAB on Friday at $7 behind Music Magnate ($3.30) and Eckstein ($5). -AAP