THERE'LL be plenty of happy faces around Bendigo this Saturday as star of the turf Mahuta makes his return to racing this Saturday.
The Darren Weir-trained four-year-old returns in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.
It's been nearly eight months since the son of Golden Slipper winner Flying Spur has raced.
A hairline fracture in his pelvis, most likely sustained in his disappointing 12th in the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley last September, put paid to any Spring Carnival involvement for Mahuta.
The multiple Group 2 winner is part-owned in Bendigo by members of the Roll the Dice and National Queen syndicates.
Those syndicates have involvement in another Weir-trained star in the making Artie Dee Two, who's also expected to return to the races in a fortnight's time after more than a month away.
Roll the Dice Racing's Steve Travaglia said it was an exciting time for the Bendigo part-owners of Mahuta, who have watched their horse rack up a list of impressive Group and Listed wins, including the $1,890,00 Gold Coast Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) and $250,000 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
"It's awesome. You have horse go around, but when you have ones at that level, you always want to see them back at the track."
"There's probably about 35 owners here (in Bendigo) as part of those syndicates.
"They've all all been loyal to Roll the Dice and they've had great success."
Travaglia, who owns Bendigo Picture Frames, said it was great to see Mahuta back on track, but cautioned punters to not expect too much too soon this weekend.
"We've drawn barrier 13 and he's obviously going to take a massive blow having been off for eight months, but he's been working well," he said.
"He always works without blinkers on, and he always tends to find three or four lengths in his races with blinkers on.
"At 1100m and with 60kg, they are probably going to be a bit sharp for him, but he'll be competitive.
"I expect he'll get a little tired late as he's only had the two real trials leading up to this race."
Mahuta has six wins from his 13 career stars, all six coming in succession between October 2015 and February 2016.
Travaglia said Roll the Dice had otherwise been kept busy filling shares in a Dundeel colt and another by two-time Group One winning sire Spirit of Boom.
He said the syndicate for the Spirit Of Boom colt would be all-women, with a crack at the Magic Millions in Queensland with the horse in the pipeline.