Trainer Todd Rattray admits classy pacer Izaha will have to be "on his game" to win Sunday night's $30,000 Devonport Cup at his first start for two months.
However Rattray said the six-year-old had trialled well since his break and "if he gets a good run, I think he's a chance."
Izaha will start off 10m in a quality field where Ryley Major is the backmarker on 30m and Call Me Hector and Lip Reader are on 20m.
The marathon 3020m journey will assist the backmarkers - five of the past six Devonport Cups have been won by horses starting off a handicap.
Izaha returned from a lengthy spell in October but his first two runs were well below his best.
"He had a bit of a bug and wasn't quite right," Rattray said.
"His last run (when fourth off 20m behind Lip Reader in the NWTLHA Cup) was getting better then we gave him a bit of a freshen up."
Izaha returned at the Carrick trials 11 days ago when Rattray was pleased with his effort, winning off 30m against lower grade horses.
"With the Devonport Cup being over the longer distance he will need to be on his game but he does have a good record at the track," the trainer said.
"He goes away good so hopefully he can get a good run.
"I'll just try to be up there early and see what pans out."
Rattray has won the race twice on two elite level horses - Devenda, off the front, in 2014 and Pachacuti, off 30m, in 2017.
"It's a good race to win but not an easy one to win on that (tight) track)," he said.
RYLEY MAJOR OPENS CUP FAVOURITE
Ryley Major, who will be contesting the Devonport Cup for the first time, opened favourite with tab.com.au but at backable odds.
He was being quoted at $3.20 on Thursday afternoon.
If he starts at that price, it will be his longest SP since he was placed in the Easter Cup final in 2019.
On that occasion he started $3.50 equal favourite with the Victorian-trained winner Franco Tristan.
tab.com.au market -
3.20 Ryley Major
6.00 The Crimson Prince
7.00 Sea Double Ugrant
7.00 Lip Reader
9.50 Be Major Threat
10.00 Tisu Spirit
14.00 Call Me Hector
23.00 Finn Mac Kee
41.00 Goggo Gee Gee
81.00 Full Speed Ahead
IGNATIUS RETURN MAY BE IN SYDNEY
Todd Rattray's stable star Ignatius may not race again in Tasmania this campaign.
The $465,000-earner hasn't started since finishing fourth off 30m in the Golden Apple final at Mowbray on December 19.
"He had a bit of a cold so we gave him a week off," Rattray explained.
"He's done a bit of work since then so he shouldn't be too far away.
"But we're not sure yet what we'll do with him.
"He might be going to James (Rattray) in Sydney when I get him ready."
The $75,000 Tasmania Cup is coming up in March but is a conditioned handicap and Ignatius would have to start off 30m.
THREE IN ROW TO KEEP PUNTERS BUSY
Three consecutive night meetings is a rarity in Tasmania but that's how the calendar falls this weekend.
The triple header begins with a seven-race Mowbray harness meeting on Friday night when all races are listed for Sky 2.
The eight gallops races at Mowbray on Saturday night are all on Sky 1 as are races 2 to 10 at Devonport on Sunday night.
The Beauty Point stables shared by Rohan Hillier and Conor Crook may be able to book-end the Friday night meeting.
Heza Sport has been runner-up from second-row draws at his only two starts for Hillier, and should be able to lead this week from barrier 2.
Former Victorian mare Gone And Forgotten has raced well since joining the Crook team and also looks the likely leader in the last.
HIGH PRAISE FOR MOWBRAY TRACK
Punters will be hoping the Mowbray thoroughbred track races as well on Saturday night as it did for the return meeting on January 8.
The track earned very positive reviews that day, as winners seemed to be able to come from anywhere with no obvious bias.
The fact that the track hadn't been used for 23 days and the rail was back in the true (after being out 7m for the previous meeting) was obviously a factor.
The rail is now out nine metres from the 1200m to the winning post.
The program includes two memorial races honouring past participants who left an indelible mark on Tasmanian racing.
The late Ray Trinder was an amateur jockey, trainer and owner of many top gallopers, none greater than Melbourne Cup winner Piping Lane.
The late Craig Hanson was a star apprentice and successful senior jockey who was the last Tasmanian to die in a race fall at Mowbray in 1983.
NEW SLOT FOR $100,000 GUINEAS
Saturday night's meeting was to have featured the $100,000 Launceston Guineas but the revamping of the calendar due to the problems in Hobart saw the race moved to next Wednesday night.
That program will also feature the $50,000 Lady Lynette for fillies and mares and $50,000 Ladbrokes Stakes at weight-for-age.
There were only five original entries for the Ladbrokes - probably due to the presence of Mystic Journey - but nominations have been extended until 10am Friday.
The first four horses home in the Tasmanian Guineas - Swoop Dog, First Accused, One Lotto and Algernon - are down to do battle again in the Launceston Guineas but fifth-placed Vivilici will be kept for fillies' races.