Armada is the outsider in the Coolmore Stud Stakes but trainer Peter Moody insists the colt is not out of place in the Group One field.
Moody won the sprint with the filly Headway in 2009 and has another filly Bring Me The Maid and well-bred Fastnet Rock colt Armada in Saturday’s race for three-year-olds.
Armada was unplaced behind Rich Enuff in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude two starts ago before having a luckless run in a Listed 1400-metre race on Caulfield Cup day.
“I’ve always had a very big opinion of him,” Moody said.
“It’s obviously going to be a big pill to swallow on Saturday but I think he’s going to get up to this level and he’s going to get exposure to it on Saturday.
“I’m very keen to see where he sits.”
While Armada is making his Group One debut and having his first start up the straight at Flemington, Bring Me The Maid will be given another chance at the top level after being placed in the Golden Slipper last season.
The filly had no luck in the Golden Rose when unplaced, while her most recent Group One outing netted a fourth in the Thousand Guineas.
Bring Me The Maid won a Listed 1000-metre race in March in her only start up the Flemington straight.
“She’s a high quality filly and has raced at this level her whole career,” Moody said.
“In the autumn the fillies seemed to have had the wood on the colts. Now it seems to have turned around somewhat.
“She has freshened well since the Thousand Guineas and is in good shape. So we can only try.”
While Bring Me The Maid has the big-race experience, Moody said there wasn’t much between his pair on the training track.
Caulfield Guineas runner-up Rich Enuff is favourite in the 16-horse field ahead of fellow colts Rubick, Kuro and Brazen Beau.
“It’s a tremendous race on paper, but you would expect that for a big three-year-old Group One,” Moody said.
“It’s career-defining really for a lot of these colts.”