It’s a race that has frustratingly eluded him, it’s one he desperately wants to win but trainer Graeme Hammarquist has erred on the side of patience with Maybe Next Year.

The four-year-old has shot to prominence and with a string of top performances he is in the hunt to take out Geraldton’s Leading Horse of the Year.

The Husson Lightning gelding has taken time to mature and hit his straps but since December has displayed positive signs of furnishing into a handy stayer.

He has won three races, been placed as many times and is chasing a winning hat trick after leading and holding out Shooting Iron by a half-head.

Shooting Iron and stable Confucius advance to the Geraldton Cup for local trainer Tony Scally but Hammarquist has opted for an alternative path.

Hammarquist seriously considered giving Maybe Next Year a tilt at the Geraldton Cup but will instead tackle a 2200m handicap at Ascot.

“I gave the Geraldton Cup serious consideration but I don’t think he is mature enough at this stage to tackle some seasoned stayers in the race,” said Hammarquist.

“There are at least five or six mature stayers in the race and I don’t think he is up to it and I don’t want to break his heart.

“He has taken time to mature but that’s not such a bad thing because it hasn’t burnt him out early in his career.

“You have to consider this is just his first staying campaign and I think he will be better suited next year.

“I really want to win the Geraldton Cup but it will pay to be patient and in the interest of the horse wait another 12 months.”

Maybe Next Year, drawn perfectly in barrier one for apprentice Renee Forrest, takes on a field of 15 in the Caves House Hotel Yallingup Handicap (2200m).

Last start winner I’m Feeling Lucky is the $5.50 favourite in an open race. Satan’s Dancer is next at $6 and Saxy Grace is quoted a $6.50 chance.

Consistent galloper Already Famous, at $7.50, is the only other runner under double figures. Maybe Next Year is one of the outsiders at $31.