Caulfield Cup placegetter Mirage Dancer is likely to kick off his second Melbourne campaign in the Group One C F Orr Stakes on his way to the Australian Cup.
The well-performed English import arrived in Australia in the spring and finished third in the $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) in his first appearance for his new trainers, Cranbourne-based Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
The former Sir Michael Stoute-trained entire then ran 14th in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington with Busuttin convinced the horse did not stay the 3200m.
Busuttin is delighted with the way the six-year-old is progressing towards his return and has earmarked the weight-for-age Orr over 1400m at Caulfield on February 8 to launch his preparation.
“Mirage Dancer is coming up pretty well towards an Australian Cup,” Busuttin said.
“We’ll kick him off in the Orr Stakes.
“You never know. He’s a Frankel colt. They can sprint well fresh and he’s a class horse.
“If he happened to get up over the top of them then suddenly he’s a Group One 1400-metre winner. I’m not suggesting that will happen, but I can’t wait to get him to a race like the Australian Cup.”
The Group One Australian Cup (2000m) is at Flemington on March 7.
Busuttin has high hopes for stakes winning three-year-olds Acting and The Holy One this autumn, with the pair likely to get their chance to stretch out in distance in feature autumn races against their own age.
Acting won the Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) for fillies during the spring while colt The Holy One was successful in the Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m).
“I’d love to get them up to Sydney over that mile and a half trip – the Oaks and the Derby,” Busuttin said.
“That’s what they are bred to be. They both love a wet track.
“That will be the aims for them but there are plenty of options.”