Despite Rising Romance and Pilote D’Essai being well established, Lindsay Park still hopes to learn more about their two Ballarat Cup runners.
The pair represent David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the $300,000 Listed race on Saturday.
After a good start to her spring when second to Black Heart Bart in the Memsie Stakes, Rising Romance has gradually lost form.
She finished last in the Myer Classic on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup carnival before running eighth in the Matriarch Stakes over 2000m a week later.
Dabernig is hoping she can turn it around on Saturday.
“She found the ground probably too firm on both occasions at Flemington,” Dabernig said.
“Hopefully that Ballarat track won’t race too firm. She’s better on softer ground for sure but it’s hard at this time of year.”
The Ballarat Cup gives Rising Romance the chance to break through for her first win since joining Lindsay Park in the spring of 2015 and her first since taking out a 1500m race in New Zealand earlier that year.
Dabernig described Pilote D’essai as frustrating after recording three seconds from five spring outings.
Pilote D’essai created a big impression with his Australian debut win at Bendigo last autumn but has become tricky to catch this campaign.
“He’s drawn wide but he’s racing like he wants to be stretched out to this trip,” Dabernig said.
“He’s in with a light weight and he runs very good sectionals all the time and always gets home hard.
“If he can do that at the end of 2200 metres, he’ll be a chance for sure.”
Two-year-old American Genius runs in the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic on Saturday with a view to a tilt at the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast in January.
American Genius competed in a jump-out the clockwise direction at Ballarat last week.
The colt ran a debut third behind stablemate Madeenaty at Flemington last month and was immediately set for Saturday’s race in which he wears blinkers for the first time.
“He’s had plenty of time following that Flemington run and has done a lot of work on his Sydney leg,” Dabernig said.
“You never know how he’ll handle the race pressure, but I’m pretty confident.
“If he won we could go straight to Queensland but if he was needing to get more money we would most likely give him a run in Sydney on the way.”