Final Man winning at Sandown (Image: Racing Photos)
Nick Harnett suspects Final Man could be the best horse he's ever trained and the emerging three-year-old gets a chance to confirm it when he tackles Saturday's TAB Trophy (1400m) at Flemington.
In only his second racing campaign, the imposing son of Reward For Effort has won four of his five starts and progressed from maiden grade to three-year-old metropolitan company.
His two-length victory on a Heavy track at Caulfield last start was arguably the most impressive performance of his career and Harnett has no reason to doubt his chances of extending his winning streak on Saturday.
"He just keeps improving," Harnett said.
"I've just ticked him over since his last win, his work has been good and there's no reason why he can't go close again.
"I always knew he could gallop but it probably has surprised me how far he's come this preparation.
"I've had some nice horses over the years - Chiavari and Mr Gold Flyer both won a few races in town - but he could be the best of them."
And while he's given thought to spelling Final Man and bringing him back for a spring campaign, Harnett is finding is hard to ignore Victoria's lucrative winter program for three-year-olds.
The trainer is no stranger to Flemington success during winter, having won two Grand National Steeplechases and a Grand National Hurdle during a stellar career in the saddle.
"There is a thought to giving him a break and looking towards the spring but there are so many suitable races for him over the winter so we'll just take it one run at a time and see how he goes," he said.
"The prizemoney is still good at the moment and, to be honest, we'd probably be better off keeping him in work and trying to win a couple more races now instead of tackling better horses and running midfield in strong races during the spring."