Tofane (Image: Racing Photos)
Tofane can stamp herself as a genuine Everest contender by winning Saturday's Group 2 Gilgai Stakes - as long as there is solid pace in the race.
That's the view of trainer Mike Moroney, who offered a glowing report of his Ocean Park mare on Thursday.
Tofane returned to the races last month with an eye-catching third over the same track and distance in the Bobbie Lewis Quality and her trainer believes she has improved since the run.
But Moroney was left to rue the sit-sprint nature of that race and is hoping the same scenario doesn't eventuate down the straight on Saturday.
"We had her pretty forward for her first run but I think she's improved again," Moroney said.
"She's got to be close to her best because the next one is the big one.
"Santa Ana Lane meets her very well at the weights and, to be fair, his best will take a power of beating, so her best chance will be if they run along truly.
"They just cantered and sprinted late last start and that's what you're up against when you race down the straight - she's got good straight form but we're well aware that at time, those races aren't really run to suit a horse like her."
Tofane, who will race with the Yulong Investments slot in The Everest, is rated the $2.90 favourite in the market on Saturday and is a $16 chance in the $15 million sprint at Randwick later this month.
Moroney said he felt that, at her best, the five-year-old could challenge top seeds Nature Strip ($3.80), Gytrash ($6) and Classique Legend ($5) in The Everest.
"We think we've got the right horse," he said.
"She's always raced very well when she's travelled away, she's fine right-handed and she's won on the track before.
"If it does get a little wet, she's handled that too, so she ticks most of the boxes.
"As long as it's run along true for her up front, I'm pretty sure she'll run very well."
Moroney isn't quite as bullish about the winning prospects of Aktau in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m), although he can't fault the stayer's progress since his first-up run over 1700m at Flemington last month.
Daniel Moor will have his first race-day sit on the import after being booked to partner Aktau at 51kg in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) when he will be third-up.
"It's a little bit hard for him at the weights but if he got a nice enough run and finished in the first half dozen, we're right on track for the Caulfield Cup," he said.
"He drops down to 51kg in the Caulfield Cup.
"We're preparing him to be at his best there.
"He was always going to keep improving and he's still got a bit left but he's getting there."
And Moroney confirmed that Craig Williams had been booked to ride Buffalo River in next Saturday's G1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
The five-year-old failed to gain a start in last month's Sir Rupert Clark Stakes and instead tackled a 1400-metre handicap in which he was narrowly defeated by Windstorm.