Russian Camelot (Image: Racing Photos)
On a day nicknamed Super Saturday to reflect the significance of the Newmarket Handicap and Australian Cup, a horse that has only won a maiden threatens to steal the show.
Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare resumes in the Australian Cup and Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Exceedance does likewise in the Newmarket Handicap, but it is the return to racing of Russian Camelot in an otherwise nondescript 1400-metre race that holds most intrigue for racing fans.
Russian Camelot is listed as a three-year-old but only turned that age in January as he's Northern Hemisphere-bred, and so conceded six months of maturity to his rivals in the two starts of his opening campaign last year.
He won his first at Ballarat when he stormed home from the rear and then nearly repeated that effort at Flemington in Stakes grade over 1800m when narrowly beaten.
Such were his performances, there is even consideration to send him back to England this year to run in the Epsom Derby, but his trainer Danny O'Brien is keen for the horse to earn his right to challenge for a big race and so has set him a campaign aimed at the South Australian Derby (2500m) in May.
"We're still finding out about him," O'Brien said on Friday. "He'll show us what he can do over the next six-to-eight weeks.
"He'll run here tomorrow and then run in Adelaide a couple of times and off the back of that we'll be able to make any decision about where he should or shouldn't be running.
"He's six months younger than the other horses so you've got to take that into consideration and he's only had the two starts.
"Adelaide's a great place to get horses seasoned up. It's a beautiful track Morphettville and it will suit our guy, so we thought that was the best target for him.
"But it's a good kick-off for him tomorrow on his home track. The 1400 metres is a nice start for him. He just needs to get experience as much as anything,
"Every time he turns up he's going to get a bit better and we think he's a stayer of some promise.
"I think he's very talented and I think he can certainly win. He's right in the market.
"His first-up run at Ballarat, albeit in a maiden, was terrific in the spring and he's got the talent to win anything we run him in."
The market has listed Russian Camelot a $5 chance of scoring first-up behind the Snitzel colt Spend ($4).