Trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young have Derby aspirations for Sully and Main Stage.
Co-trainer Trent Busuttin is guarded as he awaits the autumn return of three-year-olds Sully and Main Stage.
The pair run first-up in Saturday’s Group Three C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington, their first starts since finishing second and fifth respectively in the Victoria Derby last spring.
Busuttin won’t know exactly how well the geldings have come back until they have competed on Saturday.
But Busuttin, who trains in partnership with Natalie Young, is content with how they’ve progressed to date.
“There’s always that question mark about them coming back from the spring but I’d be surprised if these horses don’t,” Busuttin said.
“You look at the form around them like Cliff’s Edge and (Derby winner) Ace High went great in Sydney.
“Everyone likes to put the pot on the spring three-year-olds but so far I would say it’s a good crop.
“They’ve both done all their work together and their trial at Cranbourne was good, so that gives me confidence they’ve come back.”
Both Sully and Main Stage are on a path towards the ATC Australian Derby at Randwick in April.
Busuttin said the next logical step in their preparations would be either next month’s Australian Guineas at Flemington or the Randwick Guineas.
Both those races are over 1600m, however Busuttin doesn’t expect the pair to be striking their best until they get to 2000m and beyond.
Ideally he would like to split the pair, but with their autumn goals the same he said the starting point suited.
He said they could contest lesser ratings races against older horses, but said they were just as hard to win.
With Melbourne undergoing its driest first-half of February since 1991, Busuttin says he wouldn’t mind seeing Sydney’s usual wet autumn weather arriving soon which would in turn switch his attention north.
“I’d love to see it start raining in Sydney and not stop,” Busuttin said.
“I suppose it’s not the right thing to be saying but I’m sure Chris Waller wouldn’t mind a wet autumn for Winx and I certainly wouldn’t mind it.”