Neville Parnham predicted a bright future for Athlete who finished powerfully from midfield to take out the Schweppes Plate (1400m) at Belmont on Saturday.
The Helmut gelding failed to strike a win in two starts as a juvenile, but since returning this campaign he has strung together an impressive winning double.
Parnham has tentatively pencilled in Ascot carnival plans for Athlete and although reluctant to confirm he also hinted at a possible campaign over east.
“He was quite impressive and he has been an impressive horse right throughout his trials early, Parnham said.
“He is a really nice horse in the making and I think he is going to get over a bit of ground which probably goes against his breeding.
“He is still learning, but getting there slowly.
“I’m unsure what’s next, but I have something brewing in my mind.
“We will see to give him a look at the Ascot carnival or go with what I’m thinking.
“I just won’t say what at the moment.”
Meanwhile Rebel King upset the return of star mare Whispering Brook in the Perth Racing Young Membership Handicap (1200m).
All eyes were focused on the Simon Miller-trained Whispering Brook, Perth’s best juvenile from two years ago, who was resuming first-up from a throat operation.
The four-year-old, in the hands of Peter Knuckey, led soon after the start, but was the first horse beaten when the pressure went on at the top of the straight.
Rebel King, who met solid support after he was backed in from $11 to $7.50, sat on the flanks of Whispering Brook and claimed the lead with 150m remaining.
The son of Universal Ruler, facing first-up since April, passed half-a-million dollars in stake earnings after defeating Gigante by a short neck with More Aces third.
Rebel King’s gutsy victory, his ninth from 34 starts, gave jockey William Pike the first leg of a riding treble after later wins on Young Gina and Battle Torque.
McAuliffe said the Listed Birthday Stakes (1200m) on October 7 seemed a logical next option for Rebel King.