Surrey (Image: Race Images)
Graeme Rogerson is already a Lexus Melbourne Cup winner but the Kiwi horseman believes he could yet provide the Melbourne spring with one of its greatest-ever stories this November.
Rogerson has a group 1 runner in Adelaide this Saturday in the form of Goodwood hope Ferrando but it is a nondescript race at home at Te Rapa on the same day that Rogerson believes holds the key to his return to Lexus Melbourne Cup glory 11 years after winning the race with Efficient.
It is not just any old horse tackling the race either. His name is Surrey, who is a five-year-old High Chaparral gelding out of the three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.
"The dream is the first Tuesday in November, but I suppose a lot has got to happen before then," Rogerson explained on Tuesday.
"I think he's a Cup horse in the making. I'm just going to give him two more starts and then give him a break and come back in the spring and see if we can get him over there and make a challenge.
"He's a beautiful-moving horse. He's got a lot going for him. He's only running in a mile (1600m) at Te Rapa on Saturday as he's just learning how to race. It might be too short for him but it's an important race for him looking to the future."
Surrey was originally owned by six-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams after he was purchased as a yearling for $275,000 but after nearly four years in the system in Australia he failed to have a start.
Surrey was one of five horses - including the Sydney Cup winner Gallante - sold to some of Rogerson's owners in March and he made an immediate impact when a winner on debut at Matamata on May 2.
Rogerson said the horse has continued to improve since then.
"He's working with open company horses and I think he's got the makings of a real good horse," he said.
"He's got to measure up yet. He's got to climb a few rungs. He's got a big reputation as he trialled enormous before we ran him and you've just got to look at his breeding.
"He's a magnificent big animal and a beautiful-natured horse. He actually worked with Gallante this morning but he was far too good for him.
"Lloyd's done a great job. I mean, how many blokes would wait that long?
"He sent him to us in beautiful order. He's done seven weeks in a dressage course and another seven weeks training before we got him."
Rogerson will stay in New Zealand to supervise Surrey's performance while his 16-year-old granddaughter Bailey - who Rogerson now trains in partnership with - looks after the stable's Goodwood hopeful Ferrando in Adelaide.
Rogerson said the weather held the key to the sprinter's chances.
"He can run and if he gets a dry track, he's a really good hope," Rogerson said of Ferrando.
"He ran 1:07-something one day, but he needs a bone-dry track. It rained the other day (McKay Stakes in Adelaide) but he hadn't had a run for seven weeks so we ran him but he (jockey Matthew Cameron) said he didn't really handle the ground. He didn't get beat far.
"We thought we'd take him over there and if he measures up we'll bring him back in the spring.
"I'm looking to get together a good team for the spring in Melbourne this year."