Theanswermyfriend (High Chaparral) has vindicated the decision of connections to remain in Melbourne with a comprehensive all-the-way win at Flemington.
The Robert Smerdon-trained four-year-old was a dual acceptor at Flemington and Randwick on Saturday and after considering options Theanswermyfriend lined up in the Listed The Sofitel over his pet distance of 1400m.
From the widest draw, Craig Williams rolled forward on the $3.20 favourite before eventually scoring by 1-3/4 lengths from Mr Sneaky ($3.50) with Count Da Vinci ($71) 1-1/4 lengths away third.
Smerdon now has the Gr.1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 1 as a target for Theanswermyfriend.
"We needed to win here to get a rating that will get us into the Sir Rupert Clarke as that's where we thought we'd like to go at the start of the preparation," Smerdon said.
"Nothing's really happened to change that so we'll certainly head that way."
The Caulfield-based trainer said 1400m was the ideal distance for Theanswermyfriend.
"You would like to think he would go a little bit further but he might just be a specialist at this distance," Smerdon said.
"In his lead-up races over shorter distances he has horses that are as quick as him, but he can dominate a race over 1400, as he did that today."
Williams said Theanswermyfriend had to do it tough from his outside draw and racing into a fierce headwind.
"He had the elements against him but he came into this race nicely," Williams said.
"He's got further improvement which is exciting." -AAP