As a $71 chance on Tabtouch Bunbury galloper Prentice is the rank outsider in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
After finishing second last and 16 lengths from Moonovermanhattan in the Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley last week, it’s difficult to disagree with the price assessors.
Throw in a last placing at his previous outing over 2000m at Belmont and the task seems insurmountable for the Simon Foster-trained gelding.
It’s hardly the type of form you want when you are mixing it with the nation’s best three-year-olds on the biggest day of Australian racing
Despite Foster’s almost impossible mission he remains upbeat and towed the company line when speaking on TABradio on Friday morning.
And if punters reflect and take their minds back to Ascot in April they will know that Foster is capable of producing miracles.
Foster prepared Prentice, who was friendless and ignored in betting markets, to win the Group 3 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m).
It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the race and at 100 to 1 punters were left reeling in shock and amazement.
Foster won’t declare performing a similar result in the Derby but says Prentice is better than what his $71 would suggest.
“He is going to run a lot better than what his price would suggest,” said Foster.
“I think he will stick on and we have been looking for the 2500m.
“This is the race he has been set for since the Sires and all the runs in between have been to get him here.
“He travelled nicely in the Vase but when they quickened at the half mile he was left a little flat-footed.
“They ran home in a quicker final sectional than they did in the Cox Plate (2040m).
“It didn’t suit him and he is probably becoming a little dour.
“I will put the blinkers back on and I’ve put him over a few jumps to sharpen him up.
“I’m confident he will run a strong 2500m and if he does that there is a very strong chance he could run in the first five.”
If Prentice is the main course than stable mate Our Pu Baer is the entree to a massive weekend for Foster in the Jeep Challenge (955m) at Moonee Valley on Friday.
The six-year-old speedster, who hasn’t raced since September, has drawn outside in gate nine for Jackie Beriman.
“He is a quick customer but I would have preferred to have drawn inside of five,” said Foster.
“There are a couple on his inside who are likely to hold him out.
“He is a little better when he can find the fence.
“He might find it hard but he worked well on Saturday and will be in it for a long way.”
Julio Santarelli: RWWA