Single Handed will chase a winning hat-trick when he lines up for his Melbourne city debut at Flemington.
The Nick Smart-trained galloper steps up to 2000m in benchmark 78 grade on Saturday following victories at Terang and Morphettville.
Single Handed has won three of his past four starts having been successful at Echuca in October.
“We went to Adelaide and didn’t quite get the ride we were looking for so he could quite easily be four from four this prep,” Smart said.
“It’s certainly his biggest test to step up from Saturday grade in Adelaide to see if he can do it over here at Flemington.”
Single Handed has played his part in turning Smart’s fortunes around after a lean winter.
Smart has been based at Ballarat for around 18 months, sending out a number of winners, but after Warrnambool’s May carnival things went quiet.
“We were getting a bit frustrated through the winter,” Smart said.
“I had the longest run of outs by a long way since I’ve been training but over the last month or so we’ve been able to turn it around.
“We’ve had four or five winners and this guy has played a big part in it.”
Smart would like similar conditions to those at Flemington last Saturday where rain leading up to the meeting had a conditioning effect.
Single Handed has displayed a liking for soft conditions.
“We had that nice rain over the weekend but it doesn’t mean much at Flemington,” Smart said.
“We need it closer to the day because it drains so well.
“I’ve had runners jar up at Flemington when it gets really firm so I just hope that’s not going to be the case on Saturday.
“He’s looking for the 2000 metres and all the signs he’s showing us is the further he goes the better he’s going to be.
“This will probably be his last run of the campaign as he’s not quite a furnished horse, he’s been backwards all the way through.
“There might even be a nice race in Adelaide over the carnival next time around.”