Trainer Grahame Begg describes Friday night's $500,000 Group 1 Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley as a 'fork in the road' race for his star sprinter Written By.
The Written Tycoon colt won six of his first seven starts with feature race victories including the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), G3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) and G3 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m).
However, the three-year-old has struggled to maintain his picket fence form of late, losing a little of his lustre in the process.
Two unplaced efforts at Group 1 level down the Flemington straight and a surprise first-up loss in the Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield last month mean Written By heads into the William Reid attempting to avoid a fourth-straight loss.
"We're happy with the horse," Begg assures.
Written By's latest defeat came when finishing sixth in the $750,000 G1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16, sustaining a laceration to his left heel.
Two-year-old filly Jedastar was expected to take up pace-making duties in the Lightning with her featherweight of 44kg.
However, Lloyd Kennewell's daughter of I Am Invincible jumped slowly and there was no natural leader in the race. Written By raced keenly towards the front of the field as they ambled through the first 400 metres in 24.06 seconds, quickening to complete the final 600m of the race in 32.63s.
"He isn't suited to the style of Flemington straight races where they sit up through the first half of the race and then dash home," Begg said.
"He's a better horse when he can free roll off an even-to-solid gallop from the 800 metres and the pace gradually builds.
"He hasn't run since the Lightning Stakes and we targeted this race (the William Reid) because we felt he needed to get around the circle. That's why we opted to miss the Newmarket (Handicap).
"He only got beaten 2.5 lengths in the Lightning Stakes so we think the horse is still in good form - a lot of people have probably dropped off him a little bit."
WATCH: Written By's Lightning run
Written By has been kept ticking over between runs, winning a trial over 800m at Cranbourne on March 4 in slick time (45.28s, final 600m in 32.28s) and having a familiarisation gallop at The Valley 10 days ago.
"(The William Reid) it's the fork in the road for him, it will tell us whether we go to Sydney or not with him," Begg added.
"At this stage Sydney with their wet weather is a bit of a no-no for him but he's entered for The Championships so hopefully the weather might settle down by then."
Written By is $6.50 second favourite for the William Reid with BetEasy as Sunlight comfortably holds favouritism at odds on.
WATCH: Written By's Cranbourne trial
Begg's other runner at The Valley on Friday is Our Libretto, who resumes in the $200,000 G2 Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Sunline Stakes (1600m) after being unplaced in two Cranbourne trials.
She ended her Spring Carnival by finishing third behind The Taj Mahal and Dal Harraild in the G2 Sandown Classic (2400m) on November 17.
"She'll take great benefit from the run, I've had a little bit of trouble taking weight off her this time around but she needs to go to the races," Begg said.
"I wouldn't think Moonee Valley would be really to her liking because she's a back-marker but there looks to be good pace in the race and she'll be running on well."
Begg says Our Libretto will then proceed to the G1 Coolmore Legacy before venturing further north to Queensland where the $700,000 G1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 18 looms as her likely target race.
Meanwhile, Begg has also two runners on Mornington Cup Day, Island Daze and Beauty Supreme.
Island Daze is $3.10 favourite to win the Bentons Square BM78 Handicap (1200m) from the outside barrier.
"Island Daze had a good space between her last couple of starts and we just felt that she was a little bit too fresh at Flemington down the straight," Begg said.
"But back around the circle at Mornington she'll be suited. Unfortunately, she's drawn out wide a little bit but we'll roll forward with her and think she's in great form."
Beauty Supreme is a $12 outsider in the $125,000 Martin Collins Polytrack Mornington Sires' (1500m) after finishing third in a Sale maiden over 1112m on March 15 at just his second start.
"Beauty Supreme keeps drawing an inside gate, he needs to be able to get out and get moving a little bit with room to move," he said. It doesn't look an overly-strong race, like the last couple of years it's come up a bit short on entries, so we've put him in the race and we'll take our chance.
"He's got a bit of a jump in distance but he's very fit and I'm sure he'll find the line well.