Darren Weir’s forgotten galloper Mahuta makes a return to the track in Melbourne this weekend before a likely Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign targeting the Group 1 BTC Cup – now known as the Kingsford Smith Cup.
At his peak, Flying Spur stallion Mahuta enjoyed a string of six straight turf triumphs from October 2015 to February of last year.
Among the wins were the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas at the Gold Coast and dual Group 2 victories in Victoria.
His winning streak came to an end when he finished second last (14th) behind the fellow Weir-trained Palentino at Flemington in last year’s Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
His best result since came that August when third to another of his star stablemates Black Heart Bart in Caulfield’s Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Things went amiss again for Mahuta however in his last start in September of 2016 when crossing a well-beaten 12th to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
The four-year-old hasn’t raced since having subsequently been found to have suffered a hairline pelvis fracture.
The team has taken their time getting Mahuta back to race fitness and the still lightly-raced $1.75 million earner will finally get back to the track at Caulfield on Saturday in the $120,000 Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m).
Part-owner Leigh Saville, of the Roll The Dice Racing syndication, told Racing Victoria this week they were excited to get Mahuta back to the races and that they remained confident the horse could secure a Group 1 victory in the coming months.
“The big boy is back and we’re stoked to see him back at the track,” Saville said.
“It’s been a frustrating six months not having him out there for the spring after he got injured in the Dato at The Valley and missing the autumn but the time in the paddock has ensured that he is now 100 per cent.
“Brad [Rawiller] has been working the horse at Warrnambool and he has really come along the last four weeks. His action is great and Darren [Weir] couldn’t be happier with him leading into Saturday.”
Longer-range options include a trip to Queensland for a winter bid targeting the $700,000 Group 1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse on May 27.
Another possible Brisbane assignment for Mahuta is the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) back at Eagle Farm on June 10.
Futures Stradbroke Handicap betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is led by Weir’s multiple Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart ($13) who will first head to Adelaide on May 20 to defend his title in the $1 million Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville.
Mahuta meanwhile can be found further down the pre-nomination Stradbroke Handicap odds at a current quote of $26, a price sure to firm if he shows-up first-up in the Bel Esprit on Saturday.
The Kingsford-Smith Cup nominations close at 11:00am (AEST) on Wednesday May 3, while the early Stradbroke Handicap entries will also be taken by Racing Queensland on the same day.