Stephen Theodore isn't going to jeopardise Road Trippin's Victoria Derby campaign just to dodge superstar Pierro in Friday night's Bill Stutt Stakes.
The trainer believes the race fits in perfectly with his Derby plans for the gelding who he hopes can take a positive step towards that goal with an encouraging performance in the Group Two 1600m feature.
Theodore lost the 2006 Bill Stutt Stakes when his horse Magic Jet was relegated to second on protest to the Craig Williams-ridden Churchill Downs.
Williams will be on Theodore's side this time when he takes the ride on Road Trippin.
"I'm very pleased with the way he (Road Trippin) is going, with the direction we are heading," Theodore said.
"It's pointing out the obvious but he's got a big task ahead taking on Pierro tomorrow night.
"But I've got a plan of races heading towards the Derby and I'm not going to change that just because of one horse.
"This will be another box he ticks on his way to the Derby."
Theodore prepared Count Ricardo to finish third in the 2004 Victoria Derby before winning the Sandown Classic, but he rates Road Trippin a better horse.
He said by going to the Stutt Stakes, it gives him the option of then going to the Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield or The Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on his way to the Derby (2500m).
"I'll also be guided a little bit by what Craig has to say. I'll let him have an input as well," Theodore said.
Cox Plate favourite Pierro, who resumed with an impressive win in the Group Three Run To The Rose (1200m) on September 1, is the $1.15 favourite with TAB fixed odds.
Theodore is realistic about the task ahead against the Gai Waterhouse-trained colt.
But he also has no doubts Road Trippin will give his best.
"He (Pierro) is just outstanding," Theodore said.
"You dream of getting a horse like him in the stable.
"My bloke is pretty fit and extremely genuine.
"Class will probably prevail but he (Pierro) will have to earn it."