It's been a trying six months for Alison Smith's Vaquero.
After showing so much promise in the early stages of his career, the five-year-old gelding ran into all sorts of foot problems, leaving him in the paddock for the majority of the 2020 spring.
But, after working through the issues and slowly finding his way back to peak form, the stayer had a well-deserved win at Bathurst on January 29, blitzing the competition in his second ever crack at the 1800 metres.
Smith will be hoping the big boy can string together a second consecutive win on Saturday as he's set to compete in the $75,000 TAB Highway Class 3 Handicap (1800m) at Royal Randwick.
And while he's still fairly inexperienced over the distance, Smith is confident he'll handle it easily.
"I thought the best part of his race at Bathurst was the last 50 metres," she said.
"He really ran through the line there. That's why we've decided to give him a crack on Saturday.
"He's bred mostly to go a mile and-a-half but because these bush races are a bit limited, it's often hard to find suitable events for him."
As of Friday afternoon, oddsmakers have the gelding around the $20 mark, although he opened closer to $30.
What does Smith think of this assessment?
"I think he's a good, live chance," she said.
"I know he can run the distance and I know he's definitely got the ability. He's drawn a little awkwardly and he's got a rider who hasn't been on him before.
"I think he's going to get back in the field anyway so hopefully he can find the line."
Robbie Dolan will be in the saddle as the duo will jump from barrier 16 on a track that looks to be somewhere around the soft five range.
"He's only really had the one race on heavy going," she said.
"I'm not sure if he didn't handle it because of the weather or because of the track circumference at Wellington."
He'll have to overcome a tough field if he wants to achieve first place as William Freedman's Birdonawinningpost ($4.50) is the current favourite and brings good form into the day.
Race three commences at 2.45pm.
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