New Zealand stayer Megablast is embarking on a two-run Melbourne winter campaign to test his spring carnival prospects.
The Nigel Tiley-trained stayer has travelled to Victoria for Saturday’s Silver Thomas Hanley Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, with a 2500m race at Flemington seven days later also on the agenda.
His connections are trying to get a guide whether he could measure up in some of the country’s best staying races later in the year.
“We just wanted to see where he sits, class-wise, over here,” Tiley told radio station RSN927.
“We realise he’s not taking on the best but it will just give us a line as to where we go with him in the spring.
“The owners are very keen for him to be entered for the Melbourne Cup which is probably why we are here now, just to see how he settles in and if he takes it in his stride.
“Whether he’s a 2017 Melbourne Cup horse or not, we don’t really know.
“… there’s plenty of other racing around in the spring if he’s not quite up to the top class.”
Rising six-year-old Megablast has won seven of his 21 starts across the Tasman including a nine-length victory over 1600m at Ellerslie on a heavy track on May 27.
Earlier in the year, the gelding finished second in the Group Two Avondale Cup (2400m) and fourth in the Group One Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie.
“He was very impressive at Ellerslie but I don’t think the opposition was that strong,” he said.
Tiley said Megablast preferred a wetter track than was expected at Moonee Valley but said as long as there was some cut in the ground, it would not worry him.
Megablast is on the second line of betting at $5.50 behind Hursley at $3.70.