Southern Speed will make her much anticipated return to racing next week after winning the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup last October.
The four-year-old mare won the Caulfield Cup by one and a half lengths in what was an incredible come from behind victory last year.
Southern Speed will have her first race start of 2012 in the Listed John Dillon Stakes over 1,400 metres at the Australia Day meeting at Caulfield.
Co-trainer Leon Macdonald is not expected a win from the talented mare due to her likely big weight allocation.
“Being a handicap she will get a lot of weight,” Macdonald said.
“And her first-up record is not conclusive but she’s got to start somewhere and it fits in with her campaign.”
Macdonald is confident Southern Speed will buck the trend that sees recent Caulfield Cup winners struggle to maintain their form.
“Everything is going along nicely. She looks a million dollars and has dappled right up,” he said,
“After the Dillon all her races will be at weight-for-age.”
The trainer is looking to give Southern Speed a light campaign that will see her have just six starts.
“It’s six starts, that’s not too many,” Macdonald said.
Southern Speed will take on the Black Caviar in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes in her next start before lining up for the Group 2 St George Stakes over 1,800 metres in late February.
The mare will then head to the Australian Cup on March 10 before going to Sydney for the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes in March and Group 1 The BMW in April.
Southern Speed has won four of her 13 career starts and has earned more than $1.86 million in prize money.