Smart galloper Amtrak makes his comeback to racing in Monday's Listed Christmas Stakes at Flemington, but new trainer Mark Riley says the five-year-old is very much on trial.

A dual Group Three winner, Amtrak was formerly prepared by Mick Price at Caulfield but Robert Crabtree, manager of The Zoom Syndicate which is the managing owner of the five-year-old, transferred him to Riley who trains on his Moorooduc property near Mornington.

"I do the pre-training of Robert's horses and he's been very good to me," Riley said.

"He's stuck by me and given me the opportunity with one of his best horses."

Riley landed his first metropolitan winner since returning from a two-year disqualification when Mister Stevens, another The Zoom Syndicate horse, won at his race debut at Sandown on November 25.

He was disqualified in November 2000 for being found in possession of electric spurs when stewards went to his property for an inspection.

Subsequent appeals failed including the latest in the Supreme Court on August 1, 2001.

Amtrak has raced 15 times for five wins and nearly $350,000 in prizemoney.

His best victories were in the Melbourne Racing Club Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and the Sandown Stakes (1400m) during the spring of 2004.

The best of the Flying Spur gelding's placings at Group and Listed level was his four-length second to Regal Roller in the Group Two weight-for-age J J Liston Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in August 2004.

Performances such as that have earned him topweight of 58.5kg in the Christmas Stakes.

Amtrak failed to come up in three starts last preparation and hasn't raced since finishing ninth to Ballet Society in the B T C Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 28.

Riley said Amtrak had had a lot of problems, including a couple of wind operations, and Crabtree elected to leave the horse with him as he was pre-training him and has access to a beach.

"He's been a difficult horse to get right," Riley said.

"Mick (Price) has done a good job with the horse and I suppose I can only go backwards with him.

AAP 2017 Published 21/12/05