The autumn classics in Melbourne and Sydney edged a little closer to reality for the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young training team with three of their hopefuls all trialling strongly at Cranbourne on Monday.
Main Stage (NZ) (Reliable Man), Sully (NZ) (Reliable Man) and Salsamor (NZ) (Tavistock) all stepped out in the opening heat over 990 metres but while the trio hardly finished on equal terms, Young said she was delighted with all three of them as they prepared for their first runs in 2018.
"We've got them in the Australian Guineas, the Randwick Guineas, the Rosehill Guineas and (ATC) Derby obviously for Main Stage and Sully," Young said. "I thought they all trialled well and we can look forward to taking them to the races."
The UCI Stakes winner of last spring, Main Stage, finished an impressive second in the trial while Victoria Derby runner-up Sully ran home for fifth and AAMI Vase placegetter Salsamor was not far away despite finishing 10th.
"Main Stage will probably kick off next Wednesday at Sandown in a ratings 78 over 1400 metres that will be a nice race for him," Young said.
"The next Saturday is the Hayes (Stakes) at Flemington and that will be a nice kick-off point for Sully."
Young said that while Main Stage was showing he could threaten in the majors in Sydney, she was still a little concerned about his ability to race clockwise.
"I'd probably like Main Stage to go up to Sydney a little early," she said. "We know Sully has gone the Randwick way but Main Stage is still a little bit green when he gallops the Sydney way.
"He's still a little bit green going on that leg."
Young and Busuttin still keep a close eye on the races back home in New Zealand and Young said the pair still held hopes of being able to challenge for the New Zealand Derby in March.
She said Persian Empire (NZ) (Savabeel), who was well beaten last week at Moonee Valley, would be given the chance to prove himself worthy of a trip across to the Tasman for the Group 1 classic.
"We probably should have taken a sit with him and he showed how hard it was to do it at both ends," Young said of Persian Empire's performance. "We had him scoped afterwards and he was clean.
"We'll probably find a race in a fortnight and get him back on track as there still might be hope for the New Zealand Derby.
"He had a trot around this morning and was nice and bright." -racing.com