Brad Rawiller has enjoyed success on the Darren Weir-trained Mahuta in the past 12 months and the pair will be reunited in the final Group race of the season at Caulfield.
The Darren Weir-trained Mahuta is the early favourite for Saturday’s Group Three Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), his first start back from a spell.
Weir has nominated next month’s Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) as a target for the rising four-year-old.
Rawiller has ridden Mahuta in his past five starts which have netted four wins before his Australian Guineas failure in March.
Before that, Rawiller guided Mahuta to victories in the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes and Group Two Sandown Guineas last spring and wins in the Magic Millions Guineas in January and Group Two Autumn Stakes in February.
It formed part of a six-race winning streak for Mahuta before he finished second last at his first Group One attempt in the Guineas.
“All his runs have been against top-class horses,” Rawiller said.
“I’ve said all along I think he’s Group One class, and hopefully he can be doing that this spring.”
Rawiller has ridden Mahuta in one of his jump-outs heading into the Bletchingly which has attracted a strong field of 12.
“He’s come back in great order,” Rawiller said.
“I’m very happy with where he’s at but there’s no doubt he’s got a lot of improvement in him. He’s carrying a bit of condition so that’s not a bad thing either going into a race where it’s short of his best distance.
“I think it will be a good starting point for him to see where he’s at.
“This preparation he’s going to be against the older horses and he needs to have improved, but certainly what he’s done to now says that he’s ready to take it on.”
Group One performer Fast `N’ Rocking opened the $3.80 favourite with TAB fixed odds on Wednesday but Mahuta has tightened from $5.50 to $3.40.
The Phillip Stokes-trained mare Runway Star is at $7.50 just ahead of Odyssey Moon ($8.50).
Smokin’ Joey will be out to win the race for the second-straight year while popular gelding The Cleaner is also an acceptor.
Formerly trained by Mick Burles in Tasmania, The Cleaner is now in the care of Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis.