Allan McRae has just finished washing Saddle The Sun in the hose bay when you ask him about the nine-year-old gelding's return to racing. "He's had a good life for the past couple [of years], he's just been holidaying," McRae said. "But now he's back at work." Back at Thoroughbred Park, where he ended a 174-week layoff and returned in the $34,000 Federal [1000 metres] at Thoroughbred Park on Friday afternoon. It was Tulla Park who broke through for its first win of the campaign after a pair of second placings, with the Tash Burleigh-trained gelding kicking clear of Devine Miss and Puerto Rico to salute in the Federal. "He's knocked on the door these last two starts, and today he got the job done which was great," Burleigh said. MORE SPORT: "That's his fourth win with us now. He had races called off earlier in his prep, I think that happened to him twice, so it took a little bit to get going. Now he has had a few runs back in and he hasn't disappointed. "Obviously his benchmark will go up that little bit, so we'll just see how many points that goes up and probably look for another nice country race somewhere. I'm sure there'll be a 66 or something around, maybe look into the provincials for 1000 metres. "We'll just see how he comes through today, how his rating fares, and where we're off to. We'll look out for him." As Tulla Park surged past the post, Saddle The Sun was back in ninth after drawing barrier 10. Yet still, the tried and tested gelding was the heartwarming story of the day. It had been 1218 days since his last start. The COVID-19 pandemic was yet to hit and fires had ravaged the NSW South Coast. ScoMo was still the boss up on the Hill and Marnus Labuschagne had just peeled off his first Test double-century. The horse that won its first three starts - in Ballarat, Cranbourne, and Bendigo - has endured a torrid injury run. An injury following his early success forced Saddle The Sun into a 79-week break before returning with Matt Cumani, winning at Seymour and running second at Flemington. A tendon injury followed and the horse returned to Hay, where he spent a year and a half in the paddock before vet John Crowley gave Saddle The Sun the all clear for a comeback. The injury history inevitably rests in the back of any trainer's mind, but McRae can see a strong middle-distance horse on his hands. We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.