Trainer Sam Pritchard-Gordon is confident his much-travelled galloper Doctor Fremantle is on the brink of a long-awaited return to winning form.
Winless since arriving from Europe with a reputation of a high-grade stayer, Doctor Fremantle is showing signs of a revival under Pritchard-Gordon, his fourth southern hemisphere trainer.
Doctor Fremantle's career in this part of the world has included stints with leading Australasian trainers Lee Freedman and Murray Baker.
But it took until last December for a sign to appear that the entire still had something to offer when he finished third in the Group One Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie.
But he again tested his connections' patience and he ended up in a tried horse sale where one of his owners bought out the other party and handed him over to Pritchard-Gordon in June.
The eight-year-old showed his brightest sign yet in the Ballarat Cup last month when fourth to King Diamond and only just adrift of the well-performed mare Exceptionally.
It was that run which has Pritchard-Gordon optimistic about Doctor Fremantle's chances in the $100,000 Spotless Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
"He let down with an extended burst of acceleration which I haven't seen in him since arriving in Australasia so that's the reason why we're pressing on and quite excited about Saturday," Pritchard-Gordon said.
"He was the only horse at Ballarat to make up ground down the middle on the day.
"Taking ground off Exceptionally and making her look as though she doesn't have a turn of foot is something that no other horse has done this spring."
He said Doctor Fremantle, a Perth Cup entry, will win if he is in the mood on Saturday.
"Providing the pace is on and he gets out at the right time and he wants to try on the day he's every chance of winning," he said.
"There must be something there that I'm doing that he's really cottoned on to," he said. "He's a very happy horse at the moment."