He is still a work in progress but Encosta Line has shown he is heading the right way with a Rosehill victory that puts him in the frame for a Classic mission.
At his first start beyond 1600m, Encosta Line ($11) put paid to his stablemate Chandana ($4.60) by four lengths.
His trainer Chris Waller admitted to being surprised but pleased as he signalled the Queensland Derby was a target.
“He has always shown promise but found an extra gear with the extra distance,” Waller said.
“We nominated him for the South Australian and the Queensland Derby and this was his first serious test at a distance and he has come through with flying colours.
“The Derby in Adelaide is next week so Queensland is more likely because we can give him another start beforehand.”
Chandana is also in line for a Classic attempt with Waller happy to see her running on.
“Her run as was good and she will head to the Doomben Roses next,” he said.
Another stablemate, Sir Bacchus, added his name to Waller’s Queensland arsenal with his half-length win as the $3.30 favourite in the Benchmark 77 (1200m).
He wound up from back in the field to overhaul Lucky Fish ($4.20).
“Sir Bacchus will go to the Fred Best Classic at Doomben which is a qualifying race for the Stradbroke,” Waller said.
“He needed to be good to win today so he will get his chance at a big race.”
Both horses were ridden by Waller’s apprentice Rory Hutchings who is riding the crest of a wave.
“I’ve had six winners in the past week,” he said.
“But it certainly helps when you are on good horses.”