Persan, ridden by Jye McNeil, wins at Flemington last June (Image: Racing Photos/Brett Holburt)
David Eustace believes post-race checks of Persan may prove informative after last year's Lexus Melbourne Cup fifth failed to live up to market expectations at Flemington on Anzac Day.
Persan firmed from $1.75 into $1.60 favourite to win the $135,000 William Newton VC Handicap (2600m) but was safely held in the five-horse field, beaten 3.5 lengths into fourth by Amade ($5.50).
Eustace, who trains in partnership with Ciaron Maher, was adamant Persan's performance was too bad to be true.
"Something will come up I'm sure," Eustace said. "His bloods going into the race was fine and his work going into the race was good but something will come up."
Persan settled third with stablemate Mawaany Machine settling the tempo, running the first 1800 metres in 2:09.48, reeling off 13-second sectionals between the 1800 to 1200 metres before the tempo increased significantly approaching the home turn.
Persan's run was short-lived under 3kg claiming apprentice Matthew Cartwright as he only finished ahead of Constantinople, the luckless runner of the 2019 Caulfield Cup lengths below his best.
"I wouldn't say he was overracing but he was travelling stronger than perfect," Eustace said of Persan when the pace dropped out of the race.
"I thought the first three-quarters of the race we were happy, and to be honest, it looked like he was going to quicken past them and he didn't."
Eustace said the plan remains for Persan to contest the $400,000 Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington on May 16.
"The whole prep was for that race, we'd still like to go there and hopefully whatever comes up (in post-race checks) is a quick fix and not anything long term," Eustace added.
Persan resumed this campaign with victory under Cartwright at Moonee Valley over 2040 metres on March 13 before finishing runner-up, beaten a long neck by Hang Man in the $160,000 G3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on April 10.