Multiple country cups winner Phoenix Prince has his first start in almost two years in the $70,000 Bendigo Pacing Cup on Saturday night.
Owing to injury the Emma Stewart-trained eight-year-old has not raced since finishing last in the Ballarat Pacing Cup in 2020.
That run came at the end of an outstanding preparation.
Phoenix Prince won the Geelong, Cranbourne and Shepparton Cups, as well as a second in the Bendigo Cup.
The Bendigo Pacing Cup launches a big three weeks with the Shepparton and Ballarat Cups to follow.
The group 1 $110,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday, January 22, is the opening meeting of Harness Racing Victoria's "Nights of Glory" Carnival.
Stewart also has Demon Delight in the Bendigo Cup.
It signals the return of the six-year-old to her Cardigan stable.
He also had an extended period off the scene before re-appearing for Terang trainer Matt Craven in November.
He had two outings for Craven and this will be his first race start since December 4.
Triple Eight (trained by Jess Tubbs at Myrniong), Rackemup Tigerpie (Michael Stanley, Burrumbeet) and Bettor Be The Bomb (Basil Dooley, Allendale) are other Ballarat district representatives in the group 2 event.
Triple Eight is coming off a big Inter Dominion campaign in Sydney, where he had top four finishes in each of the three heats to make the final.
Rackemup Tigerpie has shown his best form in sometime with two thirds in a row, including his last start in the Sokyola Sprint in Ballarat, while Bettor Be The Bomb was second in the same race on Boxing Day.
THE Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting will feature a leg of the Aurora Australis Series for trotters.
The series will include eight races through to the end of the "Summer of Glory' Carnival on February 26.
The races carry $680,000 in stakemoney plus $50,000 to the horse which accumulates the most points throughout the series.
Ballarat will feature the EB Cochran Cup.
The series begins at Bendigo on Saturday night with the group 1 $50,000 Maori Mile.
Cardigan mare Im Ready Jet tackles the Maori Mile for trainer Anton Golino.
Im Ready Jet was a model of consistency as a four-year-old last season and returns to open class company after finishing third in the Vicbred Super Seriies final for 4yo trotting mares on New Year's Eve.
She will have to deal with drawing inside the second row in a field which features million dollar earner Tornado Valley and New Zealand star Majestic Man, which contested the Inter Dominion series and is coming off a fourth at Cranbourne.