New Zealander Cellarmaster will attempt to win while second-up in the Listed Christmas Stakes at Caulfield next Monday.
The four-year-old Dubawi gelding finished fourth at Flemington last start and looks in great form ahead of his Christmas Stakes run.
Trainer Patrick Payne is concerned the 1,200 metres of the race may be a little short for Cellarmaster, however, expects him to run well nonetheless.
“I would think he’ll run really well on Monday but next time when he gets to 1400 metres where he can race up on the speed and control the race a bit he’ll be harder to beat,” Payne admitted.
Cellarmaster proved hard to beat as a two-year-old when trained in New Zealand by Kevin Gray.
The gelding even beat the talented Jimmy Choux on three occasions.
“He was a good two-year-old. He had quite a few runs as a two-year-old which burnt him out actually,” Payne said.
“When he first came over from New Zealand he was a little bit jaded.
“He’s still a handy horse, but everyone wants to compare him to Jimmy Choux.
“He beat Jimmy Choux as a two-year-old but as we know Jimmy Choux went on and improved a fair bit.
“Cellarmaster raced in the first two-year-old race and had nine runs as a two-year-old so he was a really forward little horse.”
Payne believes Cellarmaster has improved with age, despite having experienced a few minor problems with his legs.
“He’s a short-coupled little horse and he jarred up after his first run for me so we had to be a little bit careful with him,” he said.
“But as he’s getting older he’s toughing it out, handling his racing better.”
Cellarmaster has won four of his 22 race starts and has earned close to $250,000 in prize money.