MELBOURNE – Brad Rawiller is looking to reignite his season when he returns from injury at Caulfield on Saturday.
Rawiller had hit top form in the early part of 2013 before he fractured a bone in his foot in a barrier incident at Terang earlier this month.
He has ridden 97 winners this season to lead the national premiership, but his chances in feature races have been limited, with just two Group One rides so far this season.
He has the all-clear to return from the untimely setback and is eagerly awaiting the chance to team with classy Queensland sprinter Facile Tigre in the Group One Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
He has trained with a protective boot on since last Thursday and will ride trackwork on Thursday and Friday to be prepared.
“This is the time of the year when you really want to be firing,” Rawiller said.
“It’s certainly frustrating having to miss three weeks, but it could have been a lot worse.”
Rawiller’s return coincides with his brother Nash’s comeback at Warwick Farm after suffering a broken ankle in December.
Nash is in the running for the bankmecu-backed Bendigo Advertiser-WIN Television Sports Star of the Year award for 2012-13, which will be announced on Friday, March 1.
“We’re both coming back on Saturday and both of us are certainly looking to start with a winner straight away,” Brad said.
The Jason McLachlan-trained Facile Tigre, who has 55kg in the Oakleigh Plate, resumes after a lengthy break and was a first-up third in the race last year.
“His two wins during the Melbourne spring of 2011 were outstanding and then he came back and ran third in the Oakleigh Plate last year which was a terrific run,” Brad Rawiller said.
“His runs after that were below par for him but he gives me a fantastic feel, ability wise, and I certainly think he’s got the ability to be a Group One horse.
“Group Ones are never easy to win and with the West Australian horse (Barakey) going into it unbeaten this one is not going to be easy.”
The Oakleigh Plate yesterday attracted 22 nominations, including big name sprinters Ortensia and Barakey, and last year’s winner Woorim.
Rawiller’s other rides at Caulfield include Summer Gem in the Group Two Angus Armanasco Stakes and Spirit Song in the Group Three Mannerism Stakes.