Cellarman has steadily progressed, winning four of his past five starts.
Cellarman’s rise through the ranks has taken his connections by surprise, so much so the winner of the Doncaster Prelude has not been nominated for the big race.
When entries were taken for next Saturday’s $3 million race, the Chris Waller-trained Cellarman was running in benchmark races and wasn’t considered a Doncaster Mile candidate by the stable.
He has steadily progressed, winning four of his past five starts including Saturday’s Group Three Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill.
“He was just a midweek horse when nominations for the Doncaster closed,” Waller said.
“He has been a surprise packet.
“We will have five or six runners in the Doncaster who are more qualified than him so we will probably freshen him up and get him ready for a race like the Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane.
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“He is a happy horse and has improved with racing.”
Ridden by Brenton Avdulla, Cellarman ($5.50) came out of the pack to beat Ecuador ($8) by three-quarters of a length with Mister Sea Wolf ($9.50) another half length third.
Favourite Radipole ($4.60) finished fourth and needs luck to make the 20-horse field.
Avdulla said Cellarman had travelled well and taken the gap when it came.
“I was able to find a spot and travel comfortably a few pairs back,” he said.
“He’s a horse who has a good turn of speed when you can use it.
“I just bided my time. The split came halfway up the straight and he took it like a good horse.”