Madassa can get his career back on track when he challenges a hot line up in the $125,000 Listed Avon Valley Toyota-Northam Stakes (1100m) on Sunday.
Northam’s opening meeting of the season marks the return of the Lindsey Smith-trained five-year-old after a tendon injury sidelined him for 18-months.
The talented Due Sasso gelding has not raced since the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in 2015 when he ran a brave fourth to Queensland star, Buffering.
Madassa, who has won seven races from 14 starts and pocketed $300,850 in prizemoney, strengthened his comeback plans with three trial wins.
“It’s been a long process, but there is nothing wrong with his tendon now,” Smith said on Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.
“The race and weight scale suits him and it’s just so good to see him back at the race course once again.
“He trialled well and has had plenty of work. He is fit and ready to go.”
Madassa, on the 55kg minimum, has drawn barrier six. In-form jockey, Brad Parnham, has secured the prized mount for the first time.
First Among Equals, who ran second to Madassa in a Lark Hill trial last week, will be ridden by leading apprentice, Aaron Mitchell.
First Among Equals is racing first-up this campaign ahead of a possible Group 1 clash in the Goodwood Stakes in Adelaide.
The Simon Miller-trained gelding, who holds favouritism over Madassa, races well fresh with three wins from five first-up attempts.
“I’m pretty excited to be riding him,” Mitchell said.
“He can let down with a strong turn of foot.
“His first up record reads reasonably well.”
Experienced hoop, Peter Hall, won’t rule out Battle Hero, one of two runners for owners Bob and Sandra Peters, running a forward race on his return.
On face value the 1100m looks too slick for the Stratum gelding, but Hall believes he is capable of making an impact early in his campaign.
“I think his first run is his best,” Hall said.
“He ran second to Rock Magic last prep.”
Battle Hero is an outside chance at $21. Holding TAB favouritism is First Among Equals ($3.20).
Madassa at $4.40 and Disposition $4.60 also rate highly.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli