The promising Hellbent will be out to make amends for a last-start defeat when he runs in the lucrative Inglis Dash at Flemington, a race not originally on his program.
Trainer Kurt Goldman was disappointed when Hellbent was narrowly beaten in the Inglis Sprint at Randwick on December 12.
“He only just got beaten but I thought he would have run better than what he did that day,” Goldman said.
“We just let him get over that race, went back to the trials and then this race just came up on the radar, obviously with the good prize money.”
If Hellbent runs to expectations in Saturday’s $250,000 sales-restricted Inglis Dash (1100m), Goldman said the Eskimo Prince Stakes in Sydney was a likely next step for the colt to chase an important black type win.
Goldman rates Hellbent the most promising horse he has trained and believes it will take a smart horse to beat him in Saturday’s 1100m race for which he is the $2.60 favourite.
The trainer has opted for two gear changes on Hellbent who will wear blinkers and a tongue-tie.
Hellbent had that gear on when he cruised to an impressive recent barrier trial win at Randwick.
“I felt in that run at Randwick last start that he maybe waited for those other horses to get to him, which can be a trait of some colts,” Goldman said.
“And when he came back to scale he had his tongue further back in his throat than where I would have liked.
“All we’re doing is dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s, making sure there’s no excuses come Saturday.”
At his fourth start, Hellbent finished eighth in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on October 31 and Goldman expects the experience of the straight course will stand the colt in good stead for Saturday.
He won his first two starts in Sydney before a luckless third in the Brian Crowley Stakes.
“Everyone that’s ever sat on his back, they’ve always given the horse plenty of acknowledgement,” Goldman said.