After almost 20 months off the scene because of knee issues, Group One winner Bon Aurum is poised to return at Moonee Valley.
The five-year-old has not raced since the 2016 spring carnival and trainer Ciaron Maher is looking forward to seeing the horse on Saturday when he kicks off his comeback in the Catanach’s Jewellers Plate (1200m).
The winner of five of his 15 starts, Bon Aurum’s biggest win has been the 2016 Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
Maher said Bon Aurum has had bone chips removed from knees since his last start in the Cantala Stakes in October 2016.
“He’s always had a few knee issues,” Maher said.
“He seems all right and he’s had a good few trials.”
Maher was encouraged by a gallop Bon Aurum had at Moonee Valley on Tuesday, believing it was probably the sharpest piece of work the horse had produced this preparation.
“He’s been trialling on wet tracks so it’s been hard to get a guide because he doesn’t like wet tracks,” Maher said.
“But he’s been coming on condition-wise and in the way he looks.
“His work at Moonee Valley pleased me because I could see he actually let down.”
Maher’s stable apprentice Liam Riordan will claim 3kg off Bon Aurum’s 61.5kg.
The trainer will be guided Bon Aurum’s performances but is hoping he can work his way into form ahead of spring.
“He’s in early and he can run at that handicap level with a claim and we can see where he’s at,” he said.
“If he can get back to winning form there, we can ramp it up.”
Maher has nine horses entered across Saturday’s program including in-form Lite’n In My Veins who is the early favourite for the GJK Facility Services Plate (2040m), chasing his fifth win from his past six starts.
“He’s just in great form,” Maher said.
“There was a little question mark over the 2000 (metres) last start and he answered that.
“He’s got a little bit more weight but I’m pretty happy with him. He’s trained on and he’s right to go.”