Torcedor (Image: Karl Kaldawi)
Paul Preusker's Lexus Melbourne Cup hand got that little bit stronger on Wednesday morning after imported galloper Torcedor turned in an impressive gallop at Spendthrift Australia Park at Werribee.
Partnered with the Ebor winner Mustajeer, Torcedor appeared to win the searching gallop and in doing so, left a big impression on his new trainer.
"He worked absolutely supreme this morning," Preusker said.
"He a real good-willed horse who's happy to work. Really loves his work. Watching him this morning and watching his respiratory rate, he's spot on.
"Hopefully we can get there (Lexus Melbourne Cup). He's thriving on the work and handling the facilities good and you'd think he'll come home (Horsham) and bounce again so I'm looking forward to getting this fellow.
"We'll get him there (home) and he'll find another lease on life too.
"He hasn't galloped for a while but he's had a nice stretch out this morning and he's as fit as you can get him."
The Australian Bloodstock-owned galloper had a Lexus Melbourne trip cancelled last year when he was one of the favourites for the Lexus Melbourne Cup after an untimely illness, and his place on the plane was in some doubt this year also after two poor runs to begin his campaign.
Preusker was not alone in thinking Torcedor could recapture his old European form as jockey Jordan Childs was also thrilled with the work.
"He gave me a really good feel," Childs said. "It was the first time I've sat on him. I sat off the other horse about two or three lengths and then crept up from the 600 and then joined him at the 400.
"He travelled up really well and wasn't under any pressure and I was very happy with the way he finished off. He definitely could have passed the other horse (Mustajeer).
"Obviously his first two runs back home haven't been too good but coming here and riding him he feels like he's definitely turned the corner."
As for Surprise Baby, who won his way into the Lexus Melbourne Cup field and to favourtism for the race with his Bart Cummings win last Saturday, Preusker could not have been happier with how he emerged from the race.
"He come out the other side better than he went in so looking forward to the next four weeks to just polishing the job off," he said.
"There's not much more I want out of him but we'll spend a few more minutes a day on him.
"He's fit and that run brings him on. He'll turn up sharp on the day."
The prospect of riding a Lexus Melbourne Cup favourite has spurred Childs to waste over the next month to get down to Surprise Baby's new Cup weight of 53.5 kilograms.
"Obviously I only found out on Monday that he got that kilo penalty but I am prepared to give it a crack and get down to the weight," Childs said.
"He's going to be a very good chance and the report from the stable is that he's come through the run really well and I am very excited to be a part of it.
"I've got four weeks to get it off. I'll be doing it properly by dieting and a lot of fitness work to be as fit and healthy as I can going into the race day.
"It's going to be tough, but I am prepared to do it."