Trainer Shane Quilty is short in stature but what he lacks in height is more than matched by his giant approach and attitude.
An ideal example was last Saturday when his favourite horse Fancy Feet won the Strickland Stakes (2000m) at Belmont.
By his own admission Quilty feared Fancy Feet wasn’t going to be suited at weight-for-age against more season opposition.
But the Irish-born horseman is of the philosophy you don’t die wondering and you don’t shy away from a challenge.
Fancy Feet courageously lived up to Quilty’s creed and delivered the Ascot trainer with his first feature race success.
Fast track seven days to the same track and Quilty will issue a similar challenge to stable mate Debang in the Belmont Oaks (2000m).
She faces the might of Adam Durrant’s boom filly and nominal favourite Tick Tick Bloom, a stunning winner of the Belmont Guineas (1600m).
The daughter of Viscount justified her short $1.65 Tabtouch quote when she unleashed with a pulsating run from last.
In an a thrilling three-way photo finish Tick Tick Bloom defeated Midnight Shimmer by a nose with a half-head to Happy With Kendall in third place.
Right on their heels was Debang who ran an eye-catching fourth. For Quilty it was good enough to have another crack at a big race.
“She deserves her place in the field and there is no doubt about that,” said Quilty on Tab Radio.
“Tick Tick Bloom and Midnight Shimmer are going to be hard to beat but I love going to the races on the big occasions and having a crack at them.
“She is a filly who is in a good place and it won’t be a big surprise to me if she happens to knock them off.”
Debang, who will jump from barrier three for in-form jockey, Brad Parnham, is rated a $9.50 chance.
Tick Tick Bloom can continue Adam Durrant’s dominance in the Belmont Oaks.
He has top three placings in six of the past eight Belmont Oaks and is searching for consecutive victories after Summah’s Touch won last year.
Western Australia’s leading trainer, who recently returned from a European holiday, was pleased by Tick Tick Bloom’s progress.
“There are no setbacks with her and she has come through really well,” said Durrant.
“I had a good look at her after coming home on Monday and she hasn’t gone backwards.
“I’m very well aware there is no good thing in racing and you always go in with some concerns but you would think an extra 400m would be right up her alley.”