David Hayes is looking for import Stipulate to stamp himself as a Caulfield Cup prospect in the same race stablemate Jet Away did a year ago.
Jet Away won the Group Three Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield in his second Australian start last year before being put away for the spring carnival.
He was the hard-luck story in last year’s Caulfield Cup in finishing fourth.
Stipulate is raced in the same interests as Jet Away and Hayes says Saturday’s Easter Cup has been the autumn aim.
“We’ve set this horse for it. And then we’ll put him away for the spring,” Hayes said.
A Listed winner and multiple Group placegetter in England, Stipulate made his Australian debut in last year’s Group One Emirates Stakes and has had two starts this campaign, finishing unplaced in the Blamey Stakes before a second to Queen Elizabeth Stakes entrant Le Roi at Moonee Valley over 1600m.
“I thought his first run was good and his second run was really good. I’m hoping he’s peaking for this race,” Hayes said.
Hayes said Stipulate had taken longer to find his form than Jet Away did last year, but has the Caulfield Cup as a spring target.
“It’s pretty hard to say he’s going to win the Caulfield Cup, and Jet Away should have,” Hayes said.
“But I think he’ll be a horse to follow from here on in, in anything he runs in.”
Hayes will also start Whisper Downs in the Easter Cup.
The gelding was third last year and Hayes believes he’s getting back to finding form, but rates Stipulate his best chance.
One of two Group races on the Caulfield card, The Easter Cup has 25 nominations including last year’s Sydney Cup winner Mourayan.
Mourayan was not among the acceptances on Tuesday for this year’s Sydney Cup.