A breakthrough win at Canterbury on Wednesday is set to be the launching pad to a Melbourne spring carnival appearance for Victoria Derby aspirant Fiveandahalfstar.
The Anthony Cummings-trained gelding broke through at his 13th start, showing the step up to 1900 metres in the Australian Turf Club Plate was no problem as he sprinted clear late to win by 1-1/4-lengths.
Cummings was in Melbourne for Thousand Guineas day at Caulfield but had flagged a trip to Melbourne for Fiveandahalfstar if he performed to expectations at Canterbury.
"If he can run the 1900 metres and further then he has got some pretty bright prospects in Melbourne," Cummings.
Fiveandahalfstar moved to $26 for the Group One Victoria Derby (2500m) with TAB fixed odds following the win.
The son of Hotel Grand box-seated during the run and after being momentarily held-up turning for home, he sprinted quickly when the gap appeared to defeat the John O'Shea-trained Twisted Emotions.
"He's had a couple of tough runs lately but everything went to plan today and he showed what he can do," stable foreman Barry Smith said.
Jockey Peter Robl said Melbourne plans for Fiveandahalfstar would be up to Cummings.
"He's a nice horse and has always shown he's got a bit of ability but he's just taken a little while to find his way," Robl said.
"His last few runs have been good and it was good that he could get a win today."
Corey Brown bagged a winning double aboard Lucripetous and Agent, while apprentice Jenny Duggan celebrated her birthday with a hard-fought win on the Bjorn Baker-trained Cantonese in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1900m).
Lucripetous was making his first appearance since finishing 11th in the Group One Queensland Derby in June.