Trainer Ken Keys is under no illusion about the task confronting Soul Patch when he resumes in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington.
Soul Patch has not raced since the Derby (2500m) in November when he finished third behind Warning and Southern Moon.
A lightly raced colt, Soul Patch has won three of his six starts and recorded two minor placings.
He finished second in a barrier trial at Cranbourne over 990m last week.
“I couldn’t have been happier with his trial and he came through it well,” Keys said.
“Obviously the good ones will be there in force and we’re not scared of them.
“He should be very competitive I believe and we’ll keep going up from there.”
Keys said Soul Patch did not have a long break after his spring campaign with the trainer describing the colt as an athlete.
“He doesn’t go to the paddock and blow out, he walks a bit,” Keys said.
“He’s a big colt, but not a heavy colt and he’s done enough for 1400 metres first-up.”
But Keys says a more realistic campaign is to run in the Guineas followed by the Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at The Valley on March 13 and then go to Sydney.
“He’ll be entered for the Derby, and he’ll tell us, or we could come back to the VOBIS Gold Guineas at Caulfield over a mile in April,” Keys said.