Of the horses entered to take on Exosphere in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, Sebring Sun has come closest to him this spring.
And that experience tells his trainer Gary Portelli he needs to be on his game to beat him, but he believes it can be done.
The Godolphin colt is the odds-on favourite to win Saturday’s Group One 1200m-sprint at Flemington following his three decisive wins in Sydney this campaign.
Those victories include the Group One Golden Rose in which Sebring Sun finished third, beaten 2-3/4 lengths.
“I take confidence out of the Golden Rose,” Portelli said.
“Sebring Sun gave Exosphere a fair start and ran faster sectionals.
“So we don’t want to be giving him a start.
“It’s like taking on Usain Bolt from behind. We want to be in front of him and let him chase us.”
Sebring Sun was given an easy time in a jump-out at Flemington last Friday and will have another gallop at the track on Tuesday.
“Friday’s jump-out was to make sure he came out of the barriers and handled the straight course because he had never been on it before,” Portelli said.
Sebring Sun is at $17 in first markets alongside the Gerald Ryan-trained Spill The Beans who copped a check during his 6-3/4 lengths sixth behind Exosphere in the Roman Consul.
Spill The Beans then ran second to another of his opponents on Saturday, Counterattack, and finished well ahead of third-placed Hellbent who is also in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Hellbent is at $14, on the same line as Chris Waller-trained stablemates Counterattack and Japonisme.
While Portelli is confident Sebring Sun will handle the straight 1200 metres, Manikato Stakes third placegetter Rebel Dane is unlikely to go to the Darley Classic a week later.
“He’s not keen on the straight track,” Portelli said.
“He’s had a few goes at it so we are looking at Perth, Hong Kong or maybe the paddock to get him ready for the autumn.”