With The Kosciuszko tickets being drawn on Thursday, Peyton Place will be aiming to put his best foot forward in Saturday’s Group Two Theo Marks Stakes.
The six-year-old was a dominant winner carrying 61.5kgs fresh from a spell and wasn’t beaten far at Kembla Grange a fortnight ago.
The son of Carlton House was originally trained by Kris Lees before joining the Stephens yard after his tenth start.
Thursday will see 14 tickets drawn for slot holders in this year’s The Kosciuszko, and Stephens said gaining a start in the $1.3 million feature could be life changing.
“A slot would mean a lot to the connections,” he said.
“At the far end of the rainbow, if you won the race it’s just a life changer for us type of people.
“He deserves it, he’s tough.
“Every now and then I find myself looking back through at some of his past races and what not, and the times that he can run is up there.
“He’s good enough to be taking on good fields.”
Despite making the step up to Group Two company on Saturday, Peyton Place has proved himself at stakes level, finishing third in the Listed National Sprint last campaign.
The six-year-old jumped into Kosciuszko calculations after lugging a big weight to a win in a dominant front-running display in Open company at Moruya first-up.
Stephens said the first-up win confirmed his thoughts and hopes he can continue to prove himself at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
“We’d always been aiming him at The Kosciuszko for this preparation and it (the first-up win) already enforced what we already knew, that he was back bigger and better than ever,” he said.
“He’s going really well. For whatever reason he was just a little bit off the other day, all told he didn’t get beat far so we’re quite happy to go back up and have another crack.
“When you get up to that grade, where we’re at on Saturday, there isn’t a lot of difference from last start and this start.
“Once you start taking on those type of fields, they’re all pretty similar.
“We’ve always hoped that he would get a slot (in The Kosciuszko).
“This year we feel like he’s at his best, all we can do is keep putting him out there and he can prove himself.”
Peyton Place is currently the $151 outsider for Saturday’s Group Two feature, with acceptances to come on Wednesday morning.