GROUP 1 winner Rules Dont Apply has returned to work, but his Junortoun trainer Anthony Crossland says he is in no hurry to decide on a future path for his prodigiously talented trotter.
Last year's Vicbred Super Series winner was honoured as Victoria's top four-year trotting colt or entire at last Sunday night's 2021 Victorian Horse of the Year Awards.
It followed an outstanding season for the son of leading trotting sire Muscle Hill out of the mare Abandoned Annie.
Rules Dont Apply won three of six races, highlighted by his victory in the $100,000 Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final on New Year's Eve and the Elmore Trotters Cup at Bendigo a month and a half earlier.
He also won his heat of the Vicbred Super Series at Melton, 10 days before the final.
Rules Dont Apply has since had four starts as a five-year-old, including a win in his $50,000 heat of the Great Southern Star in February.
He finished ninth in the $300,000 Group 1 final later that night, clearly not suited to the two races in one night format.
A spell after his 10th in the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix in late February was much-needed and well-earned, according to Crossland, who is taking a patient approach with Rules Dont Apply ahead of his return to racing.
"He's just working back steadily, there's no real plan at the minute," he said.
"I would assume that probably in about six weeks he will be back racing.
"I haven't really got an end-game yet, we'll just see how he comes up."
Crossland said it was a real feather in the horse's cap to be named the four-year-old male trotter of the year.
"He only won the three races, but we didn't want to give him a big year, so we mainly aimed at the back end, he said.
"But it came off.
"His body had had enough by the end (of the Grand Prix), he was looking for the paddock."
Crossland is bullish Rules Dont Apply can consolidate his position among the top echelon of trotters on his return.
"He's at that class now, he is going to be up against the best when he goes around, so he needs to be at his best most times," he said.
"His back issue is never going away, that's something we will have to contend with. But we seem to have that all down pat."
Crossland has only two horses in work, with Inredwhiteandblue - a promising unraced two-year-old - expected to reach the racetrack sometime over the next few months.
2YO Pacing Fillies - Winner: Encipher. Finalists: Amore Vita, Irish Black Label
2YO Pacing Colts and Geldings - Winner: Catch A Wave. Finalists: Heza Son Of Agun, Solesseo Matuca
3YO Pacing Fillies - Winner: Ladies In Red. Finalists: Joanna, Tough Tilly
3YO Pacing Colts and Geldings - Winner: Act Now. Finalists: Bondi Lockdown, Patsbeachstorm
4YO Pacing Mares - Winner: Amazing Dream. Finalists: Maajida, Spellbound
4YO Pacing Entires and Geldings - Winner: Honolua Bay. Finalists: Boots Electric, Mach Dan
5YO and Older Pacing Mares - Winner: Our Princess Tiffany. Finalists: Mona Mia, Tangoingwithsierra
5YO and Older Pacing Entires and Geldings - Winner: Lochinvar Art. Finalists: Max Delight, Wolf Stride
2YO Trotting Fillies - Winner: Just A Bit Touchy. Finalists: Aldebaran Misty, Ebonys Avenger
2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings - Winner: Plymouth Chubb. Finalists: Courage Stride, Lettuce Trot
3YO Trotting Fillies - Winner: Queen Elida. Finalists: Banglez, Keayang Xena
3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings - Winner: Aldebaran Zeus. Finalists: Kyvalley Hotspur, Parisian Artiste
4YO Trotting Mares - Winner: Pink Galahs. Finalists: Im Ready Jet, Queen Of Crime
4YO Trotting Entires and Geldings - Winner: Rules Dont Apply. Finalists: Cover Of Darkness, Powderkeg
5YO and Older Trotting Mares - Winner: Sleepee. Finalists: Aldebaran Crescent, Monaro Maro
5YO and Older Trotting Entires and Geldings - Winner: Maori Law. Finalists: Majestuoso, Tornado Valley
2021 Horse of the Year - Lochinvar Art
State Trainers' Premiership - Emma Stewart
Metropolitan Trainers' Premiership - Emma Stewart
State Drivers' Premiership - Chris Alford
Metropolitan Drivers' Premiership - Kate Gath
Concession Drivers' Premiership - James Herbertson
Woodland Stud Breeder of the Year - Bill and Anne Anderson
Maori's Idol Trotting Championship - Well Defined
Trots Country Cups Championship - Malcolms Rhythm
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