Former star jumper Bashboy (Image: Slickpix)
Dean Humphries has always enjoyed exploring the conflicts and contradictions of the thoroughbred breeding game, so you can imagine his anticipation ahead of Saturday's 1800-metre Byerley Handicap at Flemington.
Running though his mind before the race will be confusing images of sprint stars Nature Strip and Written Tycoon, interspersed with visions of marathon super jumper Bashboy.
Carrying Humphries' Clanbrooke Racing's royal blue with gold stripes and hooped sleeves in the race will be first starter Think Bold, who presents a challenge to breeding experts as he makes his debut in the longest two-year-old race of the season.
Think Bold is by star sprint stallion Written Tycoon out of Stakes-winning Perugino mare Bashful Girl, whose mother Strike High is something of a wonder in breeding circles.
She is the full sister of Bashboy - one of the best long-distance steeplechasers in Australia in modern times - and her half-sister Strikeline is the mother of none other than flying speedster Nature Strip.
"It's a great little pedigree but with Bashboy in it and Nature Strip, it's hard to know what you'll get," Humphries said.
"He's thrown to the staying side rather than the brilliant side of the family but hopefully there is some sting in the tail, especially first-up.
"We think it's an interesting experiment.
"When you put a steeplechase horse like him that could go four miles up with Written Tycoon and Nature Strip, it's deadset interesting what you are going to get out of it."
Humphries said he had long doubted the gelding would race as a two-year-old after he gained the horse from long-time friend and breeder Ian Macdonald.
"We both thought he was just going to take a bit of time and thought he might not get to the track this time (preparation) but he has taken more steps than we had envisaged and I think he took (trainer) Phillip (Stokes) by surprise a bit too.
"Once we put him on the track, he might be one of those horses that has white-line fever. He's gone ahead very quickly.
"He's had two trials and while neither was fantastic, he improved sharply between them and I think Phillip thought we'd decide we'd find out what he's got.
"He (Stokes) mentioned that he might start him over a mile and I thought 'That's OK, he might take him to Bairnsdale or Moe for a mile maiden', so my eyes did open up when he said we were going to Flemington on Saturday.
"I think he (Stokes) wants to find out whether he can stay.
"I am going to be happy for him to run home and run through the line and then look at him for the next 100 meres and see what he does there."
Humphries and Clanbrooke Racing have syndicated a number of horses out of Bashful Girl, including Think Rich (Written Tycoon), Think Winning (Exceed And Excel) and Think Poised (Sepoy) but Think Bold is the most promising.
"I think he's the best type even though he was big and awkward, he was the best type of all of them I've seen," he said.