Horsham trainer Paul Preusker would like nothing more than another tilt at a Melbourne Cup.
That desire moved closer to reality after his emerging stayer Captain Envious made short work of his rivals to win the rain-soaked listed $500,000 Sportsbet Ballarat Cup, 2000m, on Saturday.
With Michael Dee in the saddle, Captain Envious ($3.70 favourite) revelled on a heavy track, producing a blistering finish to run away by 2.5 lengths.
Top weight Young Werther ($6.50) finished second, with Just Folk ($5) almost another length away third.
Preusker knows what it takes to secure a highly sought after berth in a Melbourne Cup.
He took Surprise Baby to fifth in 2019 and 13th a year later.
However, despite the big raps on Captain Envious, he is not getting carried away - preferring to allow time to tell whether that is the course his stable star goes down.
Preusker was referring to Surprise Baby's unlucky fifth in the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
Preusker describes Captain Envious as a real tradesman and there is no in his mind the New Zealand-bred five-year-old has what it takes to run out a true 3200m - the distance of the Melbourne Cup.
He said the Ballarat Cup had looked the perfect race for Captain Envious especially after having to settle for third in what had been his major spring target - the $500,000 Country Cups Final, 2000m, at Caulfield.
Despite believing that gelding had what it takes to run over much longer trips, the Ballarat Cup distance fitted into Preusker's plans of not pushing him out too far this campaign.
"I didn't want to stay him out, so 2000m ticked the box for me."
He said did not want to look far ahead.
"We won't get too keen. We'll just digest it.
"I think he's a horse that will get over a fair bit more ground.
"We'll raise the bar, but one step at a time," Preusker said.
Captain Envious now has the record of five wins in 16 starts and $523,350.
The Cup victory was also a big moment for jockey Michael Dee, with the race giving him a treble for the day after combining with the Team Hayes duo of Independent Road and Reset The Jazz.
Dee has had a successful association with Preusker.
He rode Lunar Fox to victory in the 2021 Australian Guineas - giving Preusker his first group 1 success.
Dee said Captain Envious had gone super.
"He quickened up like it was a good track. He absolutely ploughed through it and was running away from them on the line. It even took a bit to pull him up."
Dee said being a little slow out of the gate made the run even more impressive.
"We got a little further back than we planned. Then I wanted to stay on the fence, but that wasn't going to eventuate, so I ended up peeling him out. He took off and did the rest."
While the runs of Young Werther and Just Folk were full of merit, the well fancied Foxy Cleopatra was never in the hunt after settling back in the field.
Stewards reported that connections advised pre-race that it was their intention to attempt to ride the mare more forward.
However, she was slow to begin and weekend from the 400m.
The stewards report stated that jockey Craig Williams reported the mare did not handle the heavy track conditions.
The Cup field was reduced to nine after three late scratchings on the day owing the downgrading of the track.
3.70 Captain Envious (Michael Dee) 1, 6.50 Young Werther (Billy Egan) 2, 5.00 Just Folk (John Allen) 3
Then followed: 20.00 En Francais, 14.00 Swords Drawn, 6.50 Red Sun Sensation, 26.00 Regal Power, 4.60 Foxy Cleopatra, 41.00 Midnight Blue