Trainer Paul Preusker said he has got all the rust out of Surprise Baby and will now head straight to the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The six-year-old son of Shocking, a $9.50 chance for the race, has returned superbly this preparation and will be third-up into the Melbourne Cup.
Preusker is confident Surprise Baby is now ready to peak.
“He had a light stretch out (Wednesday) morning and I’m really, really happy. I think he is spot on for a Melbourne Cup,” Preusker said.
“He will go straight to the cup. I think he is right.
“This year, it has been a little bit the opposite. We are just landing the plane rather than taking off and climbing to heights.
“There’s a lot of residual fitness there and it’s just a matter of drawing on it when we want it.”
Surprise Baby returned with an eye-catching run in the Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley and then backed it up with another strong performance in the Gr.1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) last Saturday.
“I think the horse is doing an exceptional job. He is fit and ready to go,” Preusker said.
“These (first two runs) are just getting the rust off him and piping him out a bit. He’s probably doing a real good job in comparison to last year.”
Surprise Baby was purchased as an unraced three-year-old for just $5500 from online auction platform gavelhouse.com, with owner John Fiteni sourcing him sight-unseen from Rich Hill Stud, breeders of memorable 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance.