Mystery Shot (Image: Racing Photos)
The owners of unbeaten Mystery Shot fended off lucrative offers from Hong Kong during the spring and now they have set their sights on a quick return on their judgement.
The winner of five from five for trainer Lindsey Smith is set to test his popularity with punters as a nomination for March's $5 million All-Star Mile at The Valley.
Part-owner Brad Spicer said the four-year-old's owners decided not to add to the mass exodus of promising young horses to Hong Kong in the belief that Mystery Shot can develop into an elite-class galloper in Australia.
"They (Hong Kong owners) came at him pretty hard but luckily for Lindsey and I, it's a pretty affluent ownership group and I think they are all in it to race," he said.
"Sometimes, you've got to have a close look at these things. You get some money and then go and buy five other ones to try and get the same horse."
Spicer said races like The All-Star Mile, where the winner gets $2.25m, played a part in the decision to keep the horse in Australia, as it was a race that he felt his galloper could win.
"He's definitely heading that way if he can get in," he said. "He's around 10 days from a little jumpout and he's come back looking super."
Mystery Shot was spelled after a narrow victory at Caulfield in July, with owners determined to forget about the potential of the spring.
"We decided to miss the spring with him as it was going to come around all too quick," he said. "We decided he'd certainly done his job, so why not give him a nice break and bring him back for The All-Star Mile, especially as it's at The Valley and that course should really suit him."
Mystery Shot has won up to 1400m but Spicer said the prospect of a step-up to 1600m holds no fears for him.
"He doesn't really look like a stayer, but we think he could get out to a mile and even further, based on his pedigree," he said. "We were even thinking about a Queensland Derby for him before COVID hit.
"He's come back about 20 kilograms heavier and he's a bit of a brute.
"He'll probably have two trials and be back to the races by mid or late January and if he can get into The All-Star Mile, he'll go into that race fourth-up."
Before then, Spicer will have a shot a $1m race on the Gold Coast in January.
His mare Snapdancer is down to race at Randwick on Saturday before heading further north to prepare for the Magic Millions fillies and mares race over 1300m on January 16.
"It's always been the plan to take her up to the mares race at the Magic Millions," he said of the last-start Ballarat Cup Day winner.