The fourth heat of the Winter Championship series shapes as a defining race for former Perth horse Mr Utopia.
The son of Elusive Quality is one of 42 entries for the 1400m race at Flemington on Saturday.
The Winter Championship series culminates in the $150,000 final over 1600 metres at Flemington on July 11.
Mr Utopia has been a surprise packet for the Robert Smerdon stable since his arrival from Perth trainer Steven Wolfe, winning two of his three starts.
He scored first-up over 1200m at Flemington on Anzac Day and was a last-start winner over Saturday’s course and distance on May 23.
With Smerdon on his way to England to oversee the final stages of Shamal Wind’s Royal Ascot preparation, stable foreman Stuart Webb said Mr Utopia would line up on Saturday after which a decision will be made on a program.
Webb said Mr Utopia could progress to the final next month or be given a break and be set for a race like the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield in September.
“He had good form over there but he’s gone better than what we thought since coming to us,” Webb said.
“If he goes right through to the final you then get fairly deep into winter and don’t get much of a chance for a let-up.
“If he happens to win on Saturday are we better off tipping him out for a little breather and then getting him ready for one of those seven furlong (1400m) races early in the spring.
“At this stage he’s running on Saturday and then we’ll assess where we are after that.”
Mr Utopia is the second highest rated among the 42 nominations for Saturday’s race behind Listed Christmas Stakes winner Tried And Tired.
Other highly rated entries include Decircles, Good Value, Henwood, Royal Island and Self Sense.