Imported stayer Stout Hearted highlighted his claims for next month's Group One Metropolitan with an impressive performance in Saturday's Kingston Town Stakes.
Premier trainer Chris Waller is considering backing up Stout Hearted ($4.80) in the Hill Stakes after the five-year-old gelding produced an impressive turn of foot to defeat Crafty Irna ($8.50) by 1-1/2 lengths with favourite Strawberry Boy ($2.60) a half head away third.
"I'd probably be looking at backing him up next week over 2000 metres at weight-for-age and then run in the Metrop a fortnight later," Waller said.
"But we'll see."
Glyn Schofield was having his first ride on Stout Hearted in Saturday's Group Three 2000m contest as the stayer's regular jockey Nathan Berry was suspended.
He was suitably impressed and believes Stout Hearted is a live chance for the Metropolitan (2400m) on October 6.
"He has to be," Schofield said.
"He's got a lot of scope and I don't think they've got to be bottom of him yet.
"That turn of foot he's got is pretty impressive."
Stout Hearted settled in the second half of the field before Schofield took him through along the inside from the top of the straight.
He sprinted quickly to hit the front early in the straight before maintaining his advantage in the run to the line.
Gai Waterhouse labelled Strawberry Boy's effort "sensational" after doing plenty of work in front.
The trainer was undecided where Strawberry Boy would head next.
"I've got to go back to the drawing board and see," Waterhouse said.
"It's not impossible for him to go to The Metropolitan. I'll just have a look and see."