John Sadler is looking to train his third Standish Handicap winner with sprinter Superhard to get another look at the Flemington straight in the lead-up.
Superhard is among 18 nominations for an 1100m-sprint on Saturday which will be the gelding's final run ahead of the Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m) on New Year's Day.
Sadler won the Standish in 1992 with Jolly Old Mac and in 2008 with Publishing.
After starting his career with Robert Smerdon, Superhard had stints with Henry Dwyer and Darren Weir before joining Sadler.
At his first start for Sadler, Superhard was explosive to win over 1000m at Flemington in March, but has had four unplaced runs since.
He resumed at Ballarat over 1200m last month, finishing fourth to William Thomas and Sadler said he had worked strongly since.
The Ballarat race was the first time Sadler had tried the gelding over the distance.
"He had his final gallop on Saturday and he's come through that well so he won't do a great deal of work for the rest of the week," Sadler said.
"He's in good form and he ran well first-up, but there was nothing else around for him to run in unless we waited for this race.
"That was another three weeks he would have needed to wait, but he was ready to go so we gave him the race.
"He's had a good chance to get over that run and of-course his form down the straight is OK.
"If he can return to the form when he won first-up for me, he'd be a real chance."
Sadler hopes to get Superhard to the Standish Handicap, but is a little concerned with the purse for the race.
Saturday's 1100m-sprint carries prize money of $125,000 while the Group Three Standish is worth $160,000.
Sadler said success in the Group Three race would mean Superhard was harshly hit in the ratings and count against him in future campaigns.
"It would almost put him out of business for $35,000 more than just normal run-of-the-mill sprints," Sadler said.
Australian Associated Press