The Metropolitan Handicap is the preferred option for David Hayes with Spillway as the trainer tries to secure his place in the Caulfield Cup.
Spillway will also be nominated for the Group One Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and possibly the Group Three Bart Cummings at Flemington on Saturday but Hayes is planning to send him to Sydney for the Group One Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
Hayes and co-trainer Tom Dabernig have secured star young jockey James McDonald for the Metropolitan ride.
“Pending good weather, he is definitely going to Sydney,” Hayes said.
“But he’ll be dual accepted in case there is an issue with the weather.
“I just think in the Turnbull he will run into the best weight-for-age horses in town, and in the Sydney race he would be close to favourite.
“He has won in Sydney at Randwick, so he ticks a few boxes.”
Hayes is looking for Spillway, winner of the JRA Plate during autumn, to win the Metropolitan and gain a weight penalty to ensure he gains a start in the Caulfield Cup.
“I think he’s not that far out anyway,” Hayes said, with Spillway 28th in the latest ballot order.
The Hayes-trained TAWQEET in 2006 is the last horse to complete the Metropolitan-Caulfield Cup double.
Spillway finished fourth in the Group One Makybe Diva Stakes two starts ago and then backed up in the Group Three Naturalism Stakes – a race which carried a Caulfield Cup ballot exemption – and started favourite but was a luckless runner.
He was blocked for a run in the straight and finished seventh.
Hayes said the five-year-old had come through the race well given the way things panned out as he didn’t have a tough run.
“I would expect him to be close to peaking in this race,” Hayes said.
Spillway is the $4.60 favourite for the Metropolitan while he is high up in Caulfield Cup betting at $15.
Hayes and Dabernig will start imports Crackerjack King and Stipulate in the Group One Turnbull Stakes.