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Akavoroun will make his awaited return at Flemington

After 18 months away from racing most rising nine-year-olds would be gearing for retirement.

Not Akavoroun who makes his return in the Australian Trainers’ Association Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.

The Ciaron Maher-trained gelding hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in a 1400m-handicap at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Cup carnival.

Maher said there was no reason why Akavoroun couldn’t improve on his record of seven wins and four minor placings from 27 starts.

“He had a bit of wear and tear and needed some joint surgery to clean them up,” Maher said.

“So after that I wanted to give him a good long break.

“He’s a nice old horse that has come back in good order and has trialled up well.

“I think he’ll run a forward race.”

Maher said Akavoroun had been in training down at his Warrnambool base.

He said the gelding had taken part in a couple of jump-outs before having an official trial at Cranbourne last month, finishing fourth behind talented sprinter Super Cash.

Maher wants to see how Akavoroun returns to racing but is already considering a trip to Brisbane for the winter carnival.

Akavoroun spent much of 2016 in Brisbane, starting with the Prime Minister’s Cup at the Gold Coast in May, racing through to August, claiming the Tatt’s Mile at Doomben along the way.

“A return trip up north is a possibility as there’s a number of races up there in and around the mile that could really suit him,” Maher said.

“I want to see how he goes, how he comes through this race and then think about whether to send him up.”

Maher said Akavoroun had floated under the radar since winning six of his first seven starts.

Two of his early wins came at Warrnambool’s May carnival in 2013 and 2014.

“He’s run fourth in a Toorak and run in some really top races,” Maher said.

“He’s just a great honest horse and it’s great to have him back.”

Apprentice Liam Riordan takes the ride on Saturday and his 3kg claim brings him in with 55.5kg.

Akavoroun has been specked in betting, firming from $34 to $26 with the Darren Weir-trained Land Of Plenty the well-supported $2.40 favourite.

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