Magic Millions Classic placegetter Hightail begins his three-year-old season in Melbourne and his co-trainer Peter Snowden is confident the well-travelled gelding is forward enough to make an impression in the Listed McKenzie Stakes.
Hightail raced in three states as a juvenile, winning two of his first three starts in NSW before running a close third in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast .
His seven-run juvenile season culminated in a second to Prince Of Sussex in the $1 million The Showdown at Caulfield on April 27 and Snowden, who trains at Randwick with his son Paul, has decided Melbourne is the right place to kick off the gelding's latest campaign in Saturday's McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.
"There's some Listed and Group races coming up there in the next three or four weeks and he is quite forward," Snowden said.
"He just might be Johnny on the spot and be able to pick something up down there."
Hightail is the 3.40 favourite to claim his first stakes win and has indicated he is on target for Saturday, performing well in two Sydney barrier trials including winning his latest by 5-1/2-lengths on August 12.
"He held his form right through until the very last run he had as a two-year-old, so he did a great job," Snowden said.
"Certainly on his trials and his work he seems to have come back just as good.
"Both his trials have been quite good and he went and worked there on Tuesday morning to have a look at The Valley.
"I would have liked him to have drawn a bit better than barrier nine but he's well in himself and he's forward enough to run well."
Hightail's early season performances will shape his spring.
"We'd like to think he's a Guineas horse. We'll find out in the lead-ups and just see where he gets to," Snowden said.
Dual stakes placed filly Talented will be out to bounce back from a disappointing first-up showing when she runs in Saturday's 1200m race for three-year-old fillies.
Talented was unplaced against older horses in a benchmark race at Flemington first-up, with Snowden believing a heavy track and a lack of clear galloping room were factors.
"She's a much better filly than that," he said.
"Her work has been good since and on a better surface on Saturday I'd like to think she will run better."