Three-year-old Oscar Zulu has booked his passage to Queensland for the Magic Millions Guineas with a winning return in the opening race at Rosehill.
Chris Waller regarded the gelding highly enough to test him in some early-season stakes races and he wasn’t disgraced behind the likes of North Pacific and Holyfield.
“We certainly had him in the right races to say we had an opinion of him and he’s come back really well,” Waller said.
“All you can do is win so we’ll aim the bar a little bit higher.
“He’s eligible for the three-year-old race at the Magic Millions and he’s mainly owned by a womens’ syndicate so there is an extra bonus there.
“That’s the path but he will certainly have another run in Sydney first.”
Resuming in benchmark company at Rosehill on Saturday, Oscar Zulu ($7) responded to a quiet ride from Jason Collett, winding up down the outside to narrowly beat Black Duke ($6).
The winner’s stablemate and race favourite Kiku finished third.
Up-and-coming colt Ellsberg could also be Magic Millions-bound after demolishing his rivals in Saturday’s Precise Air Handicap (1500m).
Group placed in the Spring Stakes at Newcastle at his previous start, Ellsberg dominated throughout for Tim Clark, reviving memories of his sire Spill The Beans.
Spill The Beans was also trained by Gerald Ryan and Clark partnered him to three stakes victories.
“I said to Tim prior to the race, just ride him like you used to ride Spill The Beans,” Ryan said.
“He doesn’t quicken, he more grinds and builds into it.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s had four runs his first prep and he’s done a good job.”
Ellsberg is part-owned by Aquis Farm which stand his sire.
He fetched $280,000 as a Magic Millions yearling and Ryan revealed finding owners to take up the remaining shares was a hard sell at first.
“No-one would come in because he was too expensive for a Spill The Beans but after he trialled he was easy to sell,” Ryan said.
Ryan will see how Ellsberg comes through Saturday’s run before deciding whether to press on to the $2 million Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 16.