A horse carrying the colours made famous by 1986 Cox Plate winner Bonecrusher will be out to stretch his unbeaten Moonee Valley run to three in the Travis Harrison Cup.
The Robert Smerdon-trained Spreadeagled is among the favourites for his first attempt in open company on Saturday, having risen through the grades in Melbourne since arriving from New Zealand.
Spreadeagled has registered five wins from eight starts since being transferred to Smerdon, including two wins at Moonee Valley.
He was successful at the track in benchmark races over 1600m in January and February.
The four-year-old is part-owned by Peter Mitchell who raced the late Bonecrusher who defeated Our Waverley Star in an epic Cox Plate at Moonee Valley 30 years ago.
Smerdon said he had previously trained a horse for Mitchell who sent Spreadeagled to him last year after five starts across the Tasman for trainer Shaune Ritchie, Bonecrusher’s strapper and the son of the champion’s trainer Frank Ritchie.
Saturday’s 1600m race is a heat of the Winter Championship and Smerdon is eyeing next month’s final with Spreadeagled who won over 1400m at Sandown three weeks ago.
“He ticks a few boxes for Saturday in that he’s won at the track and won at the distance,” Smerdon said.
“If we’re happy with what he does, we’ll head to the Winter Championship Final.”
The Listed $150,000 Winter Championship Series Final is at Flemington on July 9.
Being by Mastercraftsman, Smerdon initially thought Spreadeagled might get over more ground but now believes 1600m is his preferred distance.
“He’s taken good benefit from his last start,” Smerdon said.
“Every race he’s gone in has been a step up and he’s had to just keep lifting the bar.”
Dwayne Dunn is leading the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership by three wins and Spreadeagled is a horse who has already done more than any other to help the rider’s chances of a first title.
Dunn, who continues his association with the gelding on Saturday, has five wins on Spreadeagled from six rides which is the most wins the jockey has recorded on an individual horse this season.