Written Choice after winning at The Valley on Cox Plate eve (Image: Racing Photos)
It's a series built and marketed on speed but trainer Logan McGill has his fingers crossed that Friday night's final of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge (955m) at The Valley is run at a pedestrian tempo.
The Mornington horseman is the clubhouse leader for the $55,000 trainer bonus for the series thanks to his speed merchant Written Choice, who posted a slick 54.77 seconds when winning at The Valley on Cox Plate eve.
Four months and 13 heats later, the four-year-old's time has not been bettered and, should it remain the case on Friday night, McGill will collect one of racing's most coveted prizes.
For a trainer, the lucrative bonus is the equivalent of their prizemoney haul for winning a $1 million Group 1 race.
"I'll be there trackside praying that his time doesn't get beat," McGill said.
"I haven't really worried too much about it the whole way through but it was quite a while that we set that time and there have been plenty of races in between.
"I won't be doing anything too lavish if it does happen, I'll wait and see but it'll probably be something pretty boring like putting it on my house."
McGill would've loved for Written Choice to have tackled Belwazi, Superhard and Desert Lashes in Friday night's final but said the now gelding had taken several extra weeks to come to hand this preparation.
But the trainer is optimistic about the success of the operation and believes with improved maturity and tractability in his races, the son of Written Tycoon could stamp himself a serious sprinter in the coming months.
Under stable apprentice Campbell Rawiller, Written Choice won a Balnarring jumpout on Wednesday and will likely have another before his first-up run.
"It would've been a great kick-off for him but it hasn't eventuated because he's taken a little longer to come to hand than what we anticipated," he said.
"We've gelded him this time and we're just hoping it has the desired effect and it can add another dimension to him.
"We're hoping that it will help him grow up a bit, harden up and get his mind on the job a little better.
"He's obviously very quick but I think he's more of a racehorse than what we see on face value."