ZODIAC Ruler, the talented 2016 Gr2 Golden Horseshoe winner, returns from a long layoff in an Assessment Plate over 1600m at the Vaal on Thursday.

Horseplayers have generally enjoyed Assessment Plates as the highest-rated horses invariably contest the finishes and have won the majority of them, but there are no guarantees for Zodiac Ruler today.

Trainer Dorrie Sham advised: “Zodiac Ruler suffered a knee injury and he spent more than eight months in Jane Thomas’ care at Far End Stud before joining us. He’s only been back in full training for two months and he’s still big, carrying condition.

“He is a classy horse and we’d love to get him back to his best, but he’s only done a few grass canters. I haven’t pressed him and he’s not wound up. We’d like this race to show us if Zodiac Ruler is still enjoying it.

“My advice would be to include him in bets, but not to banker him. You’ll have to consider horses like Green Haze and Warrior’s Rest.”

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