Juvenile stakes winner Vassilator will kick off his three-year-old season at Caulfield on Saturday when he tackles the group three McNeil Stakes (1200m).
The Zacinto colt won two of his four starts as a two-year-old last season, including the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Trainer Colin Little is aiming Vassilator at the group one Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in October and believes his charge is on target despite a recent setback.
"He's had a little bit of a setback, he had a poor blood count a few of weeks ago," Little said.
"We did intend on starting him two to three weeks ago, but we had to ease up just a little bit, but he's really good now and we were fortunate that we had two to three weeks up our sleeve.
"There's no real repercussion on that, he's still on track. The short term goal, if he is good enough, is the Caulfield Guineas. I am very happy with him since his trial last Tuesday [which he won over 800m]."
Little thinks the 1200m distance of Saturday's race may be a bit short for his $25,000 New Zealand Bloodstock yearling sale purchase, but he is happy with the development of the three-year-old who he believes is suited over more ground. "We are really training him to go a mile, so you think he might not be in the race over the 1200m, but I'm sure he will finish off okay," Little said.
"I think he's taken another step [since his two-year-old season]. He's a pretty laid-back customer, he doesn't take it too seriously, so I think he'll get a fair bit of ground.The 1600m is no problem.
"We will be stretching him out and he has strengthened up and improved. He's a more rounded racehorse this preparation. He's the best horse I have had for a while."
- NZ Racing Desk