MAREEBA-based Alex Maliff has the 2020 Battle Of The Bush series in mind for a rejuvenated Ruler.
But first and foremost Maliff wants Ruler (Sebring-Dorf Command) to get through his appointment at Innisfail on February 15.
Ruler has been away from racing since October 19 when, at his second outing for the stable, he finished seventh in a field of 12, co-incidentally in similar Innisfail event.
His debut for Maliff was 13 days before when he snatched third spot at Gordonvale.
Maliff believes Ruler is ready to advertise better form in the Russell Signage Benchmark 69 Handicap (1000m).
"His best form is in softer going yet Gordonvale and Innsfail were both rock hard and the track conditions were just so unsuitable," Maliff said.
"I needed to run him because we want to have a go at the Battle of the Bush series and that means he must have five non-TAB runs before the series.
"Now we've got two out of the way we can take things a little easier.
"Besides, we have sorted out a couple of little issues with his feet that were affecting him all the way through his shoulder and wither and he is going better than ever."
Senior jockey Stephen Wilson has been rewarded with the mount after approaching Maliff to ride Ruler and others in morning trackwork.
Maliff is Ruler's third trainer after he started with Team Snowden in Sydney before a transfer to Les Ross for whom he won twice at the Gold Coast and also at Ballina while also collecting six minor placings.
The Battle Of The Bush Series, which culminates in a $125,000 final at Eagle Farm on June 29, begins with the opening qualifier on May 2 at Quilpie.
Rhiannon Payne has a full book of rides on the Innisfail card. Mareeba trainer Leanne Ashford has engaged Payne for stablemates Hidden In The Wind (Backpacker Shack Maiden) and Watch Me Dazzle Em (Jill's Stationery Benchmark 60).
She is also to ride Lushan for Janel Ryan in the Russell Signage, the Maliff-trained Taking Charge in the Walkabout Backpackers Class B and Makarios (Innisfail Budget Backpackers) for Tolga's Sharlee D'Avila.
At Nanango, Inverell visitor Cathvalanna offers the most interest.
Trained by Luke Berger, Cathvalanna (Swift Alliance-Jewel Passport) will chase a winning hat-trick in the Bechleys Transport (800m) after scoring in consecutive runs on January 11 and February 1 at Glen Innes and Dalby, respectively.
Claiming apprentice Minonette Kennedy replaces Kyle Wilson-Taylor, who was Cathvalanna in its past two victories.
Trainer John Manzelmann, inducted last weekend into the Off The Bit Hall of Fame, has accepted with six starters for the meeting in Home Hill.
He has four times winner Sound Investment, to be ridden by Girish Goomany, in the Inkerman Ratings 0-60 Handicap (1000m).
Goomany will also ride Harry Rocket for Manzelmann in the Blue Heeler QTIS Maiden (1000m) against stablemate Lucky Bee (Dakota Graham).
Favor Of God will run for the Manzelmann stable in the Waltzing Matilda Benchmark 45 Handicap (1180m) with Jefftrey Felix in the saddle and Natalea Summers rides Notoriety in the Gum Tree Benchmark 45 (1460m).