Widgee Turf (navy) will step up to Group Three level in the Victoria Handicap at Caulfield.
Patrick Payne will press ahead with plans to start Widgee Turf from an outside barrier at Caulfield.
The gelding drew widest in the field of 16 plus one emergency in Saturday’s Group Three Victoria Handicap (1400m).
Payne, who will head to Oakbank on Saturday with his team of jumpers, said Saturday’s race fitted in perfectly with Widgee Turf’s program.
“There’s a mile Super VOBIS race coming up, so for the greater good he’s better off running,” Payne said.
“He’ll have to go back from that barrier but I think he’s better off being ridden quietly anyway.
“Caulfield with the rail out by the end of the day they can run on, so at this stage we’re still keen to run.”
The winner of seven of his 15 starts, Widgee Turf has collected some handy Super VOBIS bonus money.
His earnings of more than $500,000 include the $120,000 he has collected in bonuses.
Payne said the Super VOBIS series was ideal for the gelding.
“The really good horses are trying to get some black-type but he’s a gelding so it doesn’t really matter,” Payne said.
“Our main aim is to get some prize money.”
Widgee Turf will be ridden by Billy Egan who was aboard when he strung together four straight wins through December and January and also when a last-start third at Wangaratta.
Egan begins two careless riding bans, incurred at Ballarat on Tuesday and Sandown on Wednesday, after the Stawell Cup meeting on Sunday.
He returns on April 14 and will be available to ride Widgee Turf in the VOBIS Golden Mile at Caulfield on April 21.
Payne is a regular visitor to the Oakbank Easter carnival and will have Angelology contest the Classic Hurdle along with No Song No Supper and Zed Em in the Great Eastern Steeplechase on Saturday.
He said the team was shaping up well and all being well he’ would head to Warrnambool’s May carnival.
“The team seem really good at this stage,” he said.
“Hopefully they’ll get their chance and get around safely.
“We’ve got a good month in between (carnivals) so it works out really well but we’ve got to target the right horses for the right courses.”