He may have run out of time to get Return With Honour to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions but trainer Gerald Ryan has lofty goals for the colt.
The two-year-old lived up to his barrier trials to win on debut at Randwick on Boxing Day over 1100 metres.
Ryan also had him entered for a 1000m-race two days later but made the choice to run him in the midweek event.
“I wish I hadn’t scratched him from the Saturday. He pulled up so well he could have backed up and gone around again,” Ryan said.
The trainer has earmarked an 1100m-race at Randwick on January 18 as the next port of call for Return With Honour.
All going well he will then be set on a path to the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield.
“Everything depends on that race but so far so good,” Ryan said.
“The Blue Diamond Stakes is only five weeks after that.
“So the plan would be to run on the 18th then three weeks into the Blue Diamond Prelude and two weeks to the Blue Diamond.”
By Fastnet Rock out of Group Two placed New Zealand mare Irish Nova, Return With Honour cost $520,000 at last year’s Magic Millions sale.
The colt is raced by Zhiqiang An’s Golden East Horse with the Inner Mongolian-based businessman a relative newcomer to racing who has been active at sales around the world over the past year or two.
Ryan’s first major two-year-old Group One win came in the 1994 Blue Diamond Stakes with Hurricane Sky and was followed by Paint two years later.
The $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic is run at the Gold Coast on Saturday with Book One of the yearling sale beginning on Wednesday and continuing until the night session after the race day.