Last-start Caulfield winner Trogir will return to Melbourne from Adelaide with Eclair Crossing.
Adelaide trainer Phillip Stokes will test Eclair Calling in Melbourne for the first time at Caulfield, believing the interstate trip will have longer term benefits for the lightly raced gelding.
Eclair Calling is set to run in Sunday’s Sandra Cheevers Handicap (1400m) while his stablemate Trogir returns to Caulfield for the Alex Burrows Handicap (1400m) after winning at the track last start.
Four-year-old Eclair Calling has only raced three times but Stokes says they are starting to get rewarded for a patient approach with the slow-maturer.
After an inglorious debut in August when he finished a long last, Eclair Calling has won his two starts this campaign at Gawler over 1100m and 1500m.
“He’s still a big, raw horse,” Stokes said.
“His first start was on a heavy track and he didn’t go a yard and got beaten thirty lengths.
“His next two have been quite good. He’s improved.
“Those starts have been at Gawler and I wanted to get him away from here for a bit more of a learning curve at a different track.
“He’ll be competitive but he’ll take a lot out of it and I think he’s still a preparation away.”
Stokes believes Eclair Calling will get over further but plans to give him a break after Sunday.
Eclair Calling was at $6.50 on Friday with Keen the TAB’s $2.80 favourite after a convincing debut win at Cranbourne.
“He’ll be competitive from a good barrier and look the winner at some stage but he’s still very raw,” Stokes said.
“I probably would have preferred Flemington but if he gets around Caulfield he’ll look the winner. But it might be just greenness that beats him.”
A strong gallop on the Tuesday before Trogir’s most recent race convinced Stokes to send him across the border for the 1200m benchmark-64 on December 16 at Caulfield, which he won by 1-3/4 lengths.
Stokes said Trogir had worked on a par with that ahead of Sunday’s benchmark-78 for which he is $5.50 favourite.
“He’s got a stickier barrier (13) to contend with this time but he’s in form so if he can get a bit of luck from the barrier he’ll be thereabouts,” Stokes said.