Despite having a big opinion of Maybe Next Year Graeme Hammarquist considers the five-year-old to have the job ahead of him in the $50,000 XXXX-Gold Carnarvon Cup (2000m) on Saturday.

Hammarquist has mapped out an ambitious campaign for Maybe Next Year but with just one run under his belt he believes the gelding could be found wanting against his more hardened rivals.

“He is early into his preparation and there are a couple in it who definitely have the fitness edge,” said Hammarquist.

“This Cat Rocks and Frank Maynard’s Gold Broker look the hardest to beat after coming off a Broome campaign.

“I’m definitely in it to win it but I have to be realistic against some of the other horses who are race hard fit.

“He is a good little stayer with a future and if he could finish in the first four or five I will be a very happy boy.”

Hammarquist’s judgement of Maybe Next Year was cemented last campaign when he notched a hat trick of wins on home turf in Geraldton.

Further placings at Ascot and Pinjarra confirmed to Hammarquist he had a promising staying horse on his hands and to raise expectations.

Beyond the Carnarvon Cup Maybe Next Year will follow a path aimed at one of the state’s most iconic races at Ascot on January 2.

“He has come back brilliantly and his work couldn’t be any better,” said Hammarquist.

“He is coming along nicely and is where I want him to be.

“His program will take him to Perth after the weekend.

“I’m just looking to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s.

“But the Perth Cup is definitely where he is headed.”

RWWA: Julio Santarelli