Observational and the Bendigo racetrack seem to be made for each other.
The imported gelding has raced twice at the country venue, recording two victories, both in the Golden Mile.
He lines up in the Listed Golden Mile again on Saturday trying to make it back-to-back wins in the race for trainer John Sadler.
Observational won the 2015 Golden Mile at his first start in Australia when trained by Robert Hickmott for Lloyd Williams.
On Saturday, he runs first-up having had two Cranbourne barrier trials to prepare him for the 1600 metres.
“He’s in terrific shape but it’s probably as good a field that he’s come up against,” Sadler said.
“In fact it’s a hot meeting, but he’s going to run well, I’m sure of it.
“He’s been set for it and I’ve been very happy with him, but he’s going to have to run to his all-time best to win it.”
Following his success at Bendigo last year, Observational went on to win the Easter Cup at Caulfield before running second in the Warrnambool Cup in May.
But with Easter falling early this year, Sadler hasn’t made any definite plans for the gelding post Saturday’s first-up assignment.
“I’m not sure where we’ll go, but possibly not Warrnambool,” he said.
“There’s an 1800-metre handicap at Flemington on Anzac Day and then we may go north with him.
“I’m sure he’s better on top of the ground although he seemed to get through it (the wet) OK at Warrnambool that day.”
Sadler has entrusted 2kg claiming apprentice Chris Caserta with the ride on Saturday in the non-claiming race.
“We’ve put lot of trust in Chris as he can’t claim on Observational but he’s riding in good form,” Sadler said.
“I wouldn’t normally do that but it’s just the way the cards fell.
“Chris has been riding him in all his work this time in so I thought I’d give him the opportunity.”
Sadler and Caserta will also team with Miss Norway in the Jarrod Larkin Concreting Handicap (1000m) and Thelburg in the RSN927 Handicap (1400m).