Leading Golden Slipper fancies Shaquero and Remarque have turned in stylish barrier trials at Rosehill as they continue their push towards the $3.5 million showpiece.
The pair clashed in a 900 metre heat with Shaquero showing tremendous gate speed to lead early before James McDonald handed up the frontrunning role.
The Magic Millions winner finished strongly to just edge out Remarque, who turned in an eye-catching performance to make up many lengths from the back.
“He came out like a startled rabbit which was really good, straight into gear,” McDonald said.
“He has just been that ultimate professional from the moment he trialled first time out. Lovely horse.”
Shaquero’s time of 54.30 seconds was the second fastest of the 900 metre two-year-old heats behind Team Hawkes’ unraced youngster Clemenceau.
McDonald was also impressed by the Chris Waller-trained Haut Brion Her, who defeated Dirty Work in a 900 metre hitout.
The mare was a brave fifth in The Everest and beat all but Gytrash in the Yes Yes Yes Stakes last spring and McDonald said she had returned a more furnished horse.
“Haut Brion Her went super. She has matured into a beautiful mare,” he said.
“She just feels a lot stronger than she did last prep and trialled super.”
King’s Legacy and Eduardo were among the other heat winners at Thursday’s bumper session, while John Sargent’s Golden Slipper hopeful Four Moves Ahead also won her trial impressively.
“That was a good blow out today and she is in line for the Silver Slipper,” Sargent said.
The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Forbes was due to trial against Shaquero and Remarque but was scratched at the barrier after becoming cast in the stalls.