New Zealand three-year-old Weather With You gets a chance to press his claims for a spring Classic in Melbourne when he bids to break his maiden in the Victoria Derby Trial at Flemington.
Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Weather With You was brought to Melbourne for the spring along with Group One winning stablemates Bonneval, Jon Snow and Lizzie L'Amour.
The winner of Wednesday's $50,000 1800m-race for colts and geldings earns a ballot exemption for the Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in early November.
Wednesday's meeting also features the Oaks Trial (1800m) for fillies with the winner gaining a start in the VRC Oaks (2500m).
Baker said they earmarked Weather With You as a Victoria Derby prospect after his second to Qiji Phoenix in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) for two-year-olds at Ellerslie in April.
"After he ran second in that, and got beaten by a very good horse, we thought 'we might have a look at this' (Victoria Derby)," Baker said.
"Jezabeel won that race and Kibbutz ran third in that race. I trained Kibbutz and he got sold to (David) Hayes as a two-year-old.
"It's been a good race that Champagne Stakes for staying races in Australia."
The Baker-trained Lion Tamer won the 2010 Champagne Stakes and went on to win the Victoria Derby.
Jezabeel was a Champagne Stakes winner in 1995 and three years later won the Melbourne Cup while Kibbutz was third in 2007 before joining Hayes' team and winning that year's Victoria Derby.
Weather With You finished second to Wassergeist in a 1400m-maiden on September 6 at his first Australian start at Sandown.
"I thought he ran well," Baker said.
"It was probably a bit short for him but he plugged on all right. I certainly think he will be better suited up to the 1800 metres.
"It's a nice big track and he's a staying horse who should come into his own the further he goes."
Luke Nolen takes the ride after Damien Oliver was suspended on Saturday.
The Anthony Freedman-trained Tavistock Abbey is the $3.80 favourite after his convincing Bendigo maiden win last start, with Aberro at $5.50.
Weather With You shares the next line of betting at $6.50 with Mutamayel. - AAP
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