The team behind trotting's forgotten hero Speeding Spur are embracing the pressure as the superstar returns to the track at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The six-year-old hasn't raced since March and only four times in 21 months after two injuries sidelined him at crucial times.
The best of his age as a three-year-old, Speeding Spur was eventually replaced as our best trotter by Monbet, although with both having suffered plenty of setbacks they have only met three times in their open class careers.
The anticipation for Speeding Spur's return has been heightened as Monbet is injured again and possibly out for the season, making Speeding Spur almost certainly the best trotter racing in Australasia.
Co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie says while that will have punters expecting a lot from the stallion, he and father John are simply happy to have him back.
"It has been hard watching the major trots and not have him there but it is not a bad time to come back as there are a lot of big races to still go this season," says Dickie.
"And he is sound and happy and trotting well so that is all we can do at this stage. He won well at the workouts last Sunday and now it is time to go to the races and that is the first part of our job done. But after all the setbacks he has had we are going to enjoy racing him and let the results take care of themselves."
Speeding Spur has drawn the outside of the second line in the $50,000 Rosslands Lyell Creek Trot at Alexandra Park's huge meeting on Friday night and while he could start favourite it is the usual case of 'punters beware' with horses returning from a long spell.
"He beat Bordeaux, who has been one of the best trotters this season, at the workouts on Sunday so he is ready to go but race night against fully fit horses is a different story.
"So he can win but the tempo of the race and how much luck he has could decide where he finishes."
Safely through Friday, Speeding Spur has a smorgasbord of huge races in the north and then in Victoria where he would be the favourite because of Monbet's injury and the decision not to bring NZ Cup week's major trot winners Great Things Happen and Amaretto Sun north.
Speeding Spur isn't the only big name returning on Friday night with last season's best three-year-old Vincent making his comeback in the Franklin Cup. Co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen has chosen to drive him over Heaven Rocks, who will be partnered by Tim Williams, a decision certain to influence the bookies' view of the market.