Adrian Bott isn’t expecting a winning return from Major Beel in the Winx Stakes, but he is expecting the ATC Australian Derby victor to run better than his double-figure odds suggest.
The gelding was competitive over similar journeys at his initial campaigns, albeit in much easier races, but he did claim the scalp of subsequent Stradbroke Handicap placegetter Hawaii Five Oh first-up over 1300m in February.
“He’s probably a little bit sharper than just a Derby winner, the way he has come back and the way he has trialled,” Bott said.
“Obviously it’s a big task ahead of him, even just going from three-year-old company to weight-for-age, let alone the Derby being your Group One victory (and going) to a weight-for-age, 1400 against some specialist horses.
“But I feel there has been some good improvement off the back of what we’ve seen at three.”
Major Beel was an upset winner of the Derby at $31 and will start similar odds in Saturday’s Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m).
However, he has managed a top-three finish in nine of his 11 starts and Bott and training partner Gai Waterhouse are keen to initially aim him towards The Metropolitan (2400m) on September 30.
The path he takes towards that feature will hinge on how he handles his first weight-for-age test.
“We’ll get a good line on this preparation, it’s a nice kick-off point,” Bott said.
“We’d like to get him through a Metropolitan-Caulfield Cup type of campaign with the view he will appreciate getting back out in trip.”
Meanwhile, a much-improved showing is anticipated from North Star Lass in the Toy Show Quality (1100m) after the 2022 Furious Stakes winner failed to fire in two autumn starts.
Bott felt she may have been flat after a busy three-year-old spring so the stable elected to give her a long spell and she had returned much brighter.
“We gave her a good break and she looks and feels a lot better this time in and I thought she trialled accordingly,” he said.
“I feel a lot more confident with her going into her first-up run this preparation than I did previously.
“I feel you’ll see her back to her best this time.”
A field of 12 will line up in the Toy Show Quality with punters expecting the cream to rise to the top.
North Star Lass ($7.50) is among five well-performed mares rated at $7.50 and under, while five rivals are marked $31 and above.
– RAS NewsWire