The scratching of Prezado has left training partners Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra relying on Crystal Spirit in the Manfred Stakes at Caulfield.
He will be ridden by Melbourne premiership leader Damian Lane and Zahra believes Crystal Spirit has the credentials to win a black-type race.
Whether Saturday’s Group Three race is too soon Zahra is unsure, but he is confident the three-year-old has the talent.
Crystal Spirit finished second last start to Mr Money Bags at Flemington after striking the front too soon over 1400m.
“There’s improvement to come as the penny is still to drop with him,” Zahra said.
“We think he’s up to the class. If he can get back and hit the line, to me it seems to be when he runs his best races.
“That way he doesn’t have time to think.”
Zahra said the stable had elected to bypass Saturday’s race with Prezado after he drew the outside barrier.
Prezado, a last-start second to Nature Strip at Flemington, will instead run in the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield a week later.
Ellerton and Zahra will be represented by older sprinters Crystal Dreamer and Nasdex in the Listed W J Adams Stakes.
Crystal Dream is an elder half-brother to Crystal Spirit and a three-time winner at Caulfield.
He hasn’t raced since winning at the track in December.
“He’s going well but has the weight to carry but there looks plenty of speed that will suit him,” Zahra said.
“Nasdex has had a freshen-up.
“He’s going like a horse that will get a bit further in time.
“With the hot speed we don’t have to lead and hopefully we can get a nice run in behind them.”