In an ideal world, Lloyd Williams would race his horses only in Melbourne and only at Flemington.
On that score, Emirates Stakes favourite Fawkner is close to being his ideal horse.
Fawkner comes to his first Group One race with victories at each of his past four starts, all of them at Flemington.
And it is no coincidence.
“I make no secret of it – if I could I’d race only at Flemington,” Williams said.
“That’s why we targeted those races he’s won there.
“It’s the best track in Melbourne and the last three races he’s won were all 28 days apart which suited our program,” he said.
Fawkner is a $4.80 favourite to make it five-from-five in the Emirates, a race that appears to suit him as well as it does his owner.
After an autumn campaign in which he was stretched out to 2000m, Williams realised he wasn’t going to turn Fawkner into a stayer and freshened him up for a 1600m race at Flemington last April.
That change of direction began the sequence he will now attempt to extend to five.
The Emirates is also the culmination of a progression through the grades for Fawkner whose Group Three victory last start was preceded by two Listed wins.
“It’s another step, but I’m pretty sure he’s up to it,” Williams said.
In a race that is often one for redemption and consolation after the Cox Plate and other missed spring opportunities, Fawkner is up against the strongest field he has faced in the Emirates.
One of those looking to salvage a win from the carnival is Secret Admirer who has been out of luck in two states and over various distances before her last-start third to Appearance and Soft Sand against her own sex in the Group One Myer Classic (1600m) last Saturday.
Before that she was a distant 11th in the Caulfield Cup and before that a handy fifth in the Epsom at Randwick.
In her favour on Saturday is her good record when backing up.
Secret Admirer scored her best win – in last year’s Epsom – off a seven-day back-up and has had the same break before the Emirates, a race in which she ran third last year.
Also looking for Group One compensation is the New Zealander He’s Remarkable who lost a controversial protest after crossing the line in front in last November’s Group One Railway Stakes in Perth.
He’s Remarkable has since won the Group Three Newcastle Newmarket in the autumn and after losing form in Sydney not long afterwards, has shown improvement at his past two runs in New Zealand.