A crucial barrier trial at Cranbourne on Tuesday will decide whether Group One winner Zabeelionaire resumes in the Golden Mile at Bendigo.
The 2012 South Australian Derby winner is one of 25 nominations for the $150,000 Listed race at Saturday’s feature meeting in country Victoria, but trainer Leon Corstens will be guided by how the horse trials and by the opinion of champion jockey Damien Oliver.
Zabeelionaire hasn’t won since his Derby success and hasn’t raced since last year’s Brisbane winter carnival where he was plagued by wet tracks.
“He is trialling at Cranbourne over 1500 metres and up to date he’s been a bit disappointing,” Corstens said.
“If he trials really well, he’ll definitely be going.
“He’s just not hitting the line like I’d like him to.
“Damien Oliver is going to ride him tomorrow and he’s going to give us a real good indication of where we are going and what we’re going to do.
“Tomorrow is definitely a defining day.”
Zabeelionaire is an entire and a brother to last year’s Queensland Oaks winner Gondokoro.
Geelong Cup winner Ibicenco is topweight with 60kg for the Golden Mile.
Group One winner Fat Al has 58.5kg, the Lloyd Williams-owned import Massiyn has 58kg and Zabeelionaire has 57.5kg.
The nine-race meeting also features the $250,000 Vobis Gold Rush for two-year-olds, the $150,000 Listed Bendigo Guineas and the $110,000 Bendigo Gold Bracelet for mares.
The VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) could feature the debut of $2.4 million yearling purchase Wilderness.
Wilderness, a son of Fastnet Rock, won a trial at Canterbury last week and is nominated for two races in NSW, a maiden at Hawkesbury on Thursday and the Skyline Stakes on Saturday, as well as a Listed race at Moonee Valley on Friday night and the Bendigo event.
His trainer David Hayes has four youngsters nominated for Bendigo, including Beluga Caviar who is by Redoute’s Choice out of the grandmother of Black Caviar, Scandinavia.
“Wilderness is still in Sydney, but there’s a good chance we might run him at Bendigo,” Lindsay Park stable representative Tom Dabernig said.
“He’s VOBIS Gold and it’s good prizemoney so it’s hard not to give it strong consideration.”