Trainer John O'Shea is confident that British-bred Maximal is the right type of horse to feature in a Group 1 Australian Cup, but wonders whether Saturday's feature may come too soon.
The British-bred son of Galileo (Sadler's Wells) is currently a 15/1 shot for the big race at Flemington on Saturday.
Maximal has had only two starts in Australia, finishing a good sixth in the Golden Eagle over 1500 metres in October, before fading out to last in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes behind Saturday's rival Think It Over.
"He worked this morning left-handed and he was great," O'Shea said. "He's a really talented horse who had the misfortune of trainer error at his first run and then inclement weather stopped him having another run over a mile when he was going really well.
"He hasn't had the best preparation going into the Australian Cup, but he's a talented horse who can give a good account of himself.
"Hopefully you'll see him back in Melbourne again when he's had the right preparation and I think the horse could win a race of that nature without any shadow of doubt."
O'Shea is mindful of the indifferent preparation Maximal has had in attempting to turn the tables on Think It Over, but also said if he brings his A-game, he would be competitive in any race he contests.
"I think he will be well suited at Flemington, he will be well suited on dry ground and he'll be well suited at the ten furlongs," O'Shea added.
"But, Think It Over is going really well and has had continuity to his program and is third-up coming to a peak, whereas my bloke is second-up with a month break after a negative first-up run.
"If he can't beat him on Saturday, it would be fair to say he will never beat him."