Well-performed West Australian gelding Material Man has travelled across the country to take on a number of the eastern states’ high-profile horses in Melbourne’s feature races.
The seven-year-old Justin Warwick-trained gelding arrived in Victoria early on Wednesday and begins his campaign in Saturday’s Group One C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
His Melbourne autumn campaign is set to include three Group One races culminating hopefully in the inaugural $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 16.
Material Man was sitting 10th in the public vote for the All-Star Mile on Thursday with voting open for another 10 days.
The 10 horses who poll the most votes will earn spots in the race while Racing Victoria will decide on four wildcards to make up the 14-horse field.
“Ideally he can go from the Orr to the Futurity Stakes, then probably the Newmarket Handicap and then seven days later up to the mile in the All-Star Mile would be ideal,” Warwick said.
“Every race is a big race. There’s three Group Ones to go into and if he’s still in one piece and still competitive come the All-Star Mile, of course that would be the grand final.
“But there’s plenty of preliminary finals on the way through.”
Material Man won the Group Two Perth Cup (2400m) in January last year while he has been placed three times at Group One level in Perth, including his past two starts when third in Railway Stakes (1600m) and second in the Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Warwick says time will tell how Material Man, winner of 14 of his 25 starts, measures up in the Orr against a capacity field including seven individual Group One winners.
“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have travelled him over if I didn’t think he would be competitive,” Warwick said.
“We’ll find out on Saturday.
“He has run second in two Group Ones so he’s not far away.
“The depth is probably stronger here but he always acquits himself well.
“I think he’s as good as ever.
“His best and worst is pretty close together. Touch wood, he doesn’t put in bad performances and if he gets beaten it’s usually because he’s not good enough.
“His record speaks for itself.”
Warwick’s daughter, Lucy Warwick, has ridden Material Man in the majority of his races and again takes the ride in the Orr.