Neville Parnham has faith that Bustler can make his presence felt on debut in Melbourne.
A winner of the Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot last November, Bustler prepares for another Group 1 test in the C.F.Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Bustler and stable mate, WA Guineas champion, Zipaway, in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m), are testing interstate waters for the first time in their careers.
Bustler, a son of boom sire Playing God, meets a small but select group in the Orr Stakes after a field of nine accepted for the first Victorian Group 1 of 2024.
Mr Brightside has a stranglehold on betting for the Orr Stakes as he looks to launch his campaign on a high for the Ben, Will and JD Hayes training combination.
Mr Brightside is the $1.85 favourite ahead of dual Group 1 hero, Pride Of Jenni ($6), promising three-year-old colt, Veight ($7) and Godolphin’s Pericles ($8).
Bustler, to be ridden by Steven Parnham, is rated the rank outsider of the field at $51.
Despite the big odds, Parnham believes Bustler will acquit himself well against a crack C.F.Orr Stakes line-up.
He expects a forward showing first-up, his hopes fueled and boosted after strong track gallops from Bustler.
“He did a fair bit of work on Saturday and had a good gallop yesterday,” Parnham said on Tabradio.
“I have to say his gallop yesterday (Tuesday) was probably as good as he can put up.
“He worked brilliantly and will certainly run a forward race.
“He’ll need to be at his best, but I do feel he’s in good form and he will run very well.”
Parnham is keen to test the Melbourne waters with Zipaway after the three-year-old talent underlined his promise last year.
A host of feature races are in the pipeline, including the Australian Guineas at Flemington in March if he performs to expectations.
Zipway won the WA Guineas and ran a top third to Dom To Shoot and Zaaki at the elite level in the Northerly Stakes (1800m).
“Zaaki is in the twilight of his career, but still ran close up in the Cox Plate before he came over,” Parnham said.
“His form was pretty sound at the top level and Dom To Shoot ran third in a Railway and came out and won the Northerly.
“He’s (Zipaway) a quality horse in his own right and we’ll see how he measures up in Melbourne.
“He’s a nice horse and hopefully he can do us proud on the weekend.”
In a field of eight, Zipaway has drawn gate seven for Steven Parnham in the Autumn Stakes.
The Playing God gelding is currently rated a $5.50 chance.
Southport Tycoon the $1.90 favourite.