Hawkspur is no Lonhro but he is in line to replicate a feat last achieved by the champion weight-for-age horse.
The five-year-old will strive to become the first horse to claim back-to-back wins in the Chelmsford Stakes since Lonhro in 2002-03.
Achieving the honour will require Hawkspur to topple five stablemates, a short-priced favourite in Entirely Platinum and a Derby winner in Criterion.
But given suitable track conditions, trainer Chris Waller believes the horse is capable of delivering him his third Chelmsford in succession.
“Hawkspur is knocking on the door. He was favourite for the Caulfield Cup last year and he won the Chelmsford last year,” Waller said.
“He wants a dead to good track.”
Hawkspur came off a midfield Warwick Stakes performance to win the Chelmsford 12 months ago.
He heads into Saturday’s renewal with a more significant grounding having finished two lengths from Missile Stakes winner Sweet Idea first-up before a similarly game performance off a wide run in the Warwick Stakes.
Markets rate him the third pick of Waller’s six runners, behind stablemates Sacred Falls and Royal Descent who finished one-two in the Doncaster Mile last autumn.
Waller’s runners all have goals deeper in the spring but Waller wouldn’t be surprised to see one of his top trio of chances claim Saturday’s prize.
“None of them is having their Grand Final on Saturday but two or three of them could easily win on their way to their Grand Final,” he said.
“Sacred Falls and Royal Descent are clearly the best two on form.”
If there is a surprise packet among Waller’s contingent it could be Bagman.
The winner of 12 of his 39 starts, Bagman was Group Two-placed for former trainer Sam Kavanagh during the 2012 Melbourne spring carnival.
After building back into form following more than a year on the sidelines, Bagman has strung together wins at his past two starts in Melbourne to earn a surprise spot on Waller’s Sydney spring carnival team.
“All of a sudden, after winning two races in Melbourne, he is being set for the Metropolitan,” Waller said.
“He should be well weighted in that race.”
Multiple stakes winners Moriarty and Junoob round out Waller’s Chelmsford Stakes team.