The Melbourne spring carnival depth of trainer Anthony Cummings will be influenced by results at Randwick on Saturday.
Cummings will saddle up one of his biggest metropolitan teams so far this season with five runners across the eight-race card, most notably a new-look Drago in the Xirrus Sprint.
Like the rest of the quintet, Drago is in line for a trip to Melbourne but needs to earn his ticket with an encouraging performance at Randwick.
“I’d like to think a couple of them could force their way onto the Melbourne scene, at least for the Flemington carnival,” Cummings said.
Since he finished fourth in two Group One races at the start of his career, Drago has been on the radar of most punters.
He was consistent in good company last spring without winning then strained a ligament at the back of his pastern on the eve of the autumn carnival and took no part.
Saturday will be his first start since last year’s Victoria Derby and significantly, he resumes a gelding.
“Two stone lighter, two stone brighter,” Cummings said.
“He’s in good order and his two trials have been good.
“He’s certainly a lot calmer and his work has been up to its usual standard.”
Cummings will be happy to see Drago finishing strongly on Saturday and says there are several options for the horse in Melbourne depending on how quickly he progresses.
Best Case also has black-type formlines and looks well placed stepping up to 2000m in the #Moetmoment Handicap after a closing last-start fourth in the Shannon Stakes.
“He is in his right distance range now and I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t in the fat end of the pies on Saturday,” Cummings said.
The trainer also runs former Hong Kong galloper Aomen, who is resuming from a bowed tendon, and Alpha Beat in the Myer Spring Fashion Handicap and Volley Of Fire in the Cellarbrations Handicap.
His Melbourne hopes on Saturday rest with High Above in the Group One Thousand Guineas.