Trainer Matt Cumani is hopeful a first-up country victory is the confidence-booster Deserved needs to return to city winning form at Caulfield.
Deserved won at Ballarat to break a 13-month winless streak after the filly won on debut at Sandown last year.
Cumani has picked out Saturday’s Take It To The Neds Level Handicap to see if Deserved can relaunch her city career.
As a two-year-old Deserved split Chaillot and Super Seth in Listed grade at Flemington before Super Seth went on to claim the Caulfield Guineas in the spring.
Deserved’s three-year-old spring campaign was short of what Cumani had hoped, although the filly was placed in the Jim Moloney Stakes at Caulfield before two last-placed finishes at Flemington.
“I think there was every reason to run her in those races in the spring because some of her form from her earlier races was excellent,” Cumani said.
“She finished third behind I Am Eloquent in a stakes race and was really mapping like she was getting there.
“If you look at it the form has possibly not worked out quite like we had hoped and as soon as we stepped her up into proper class that was when she failed.
“Is that because she went off the boil or because she is not quite up to that level, I don’t know, but we’ll find out a little bit more on Saturday.
“I’m happy with her and I’m hopeful she can put in a good performance.”
Cumani also starts last start Flemington winner Creedence in the Neds Money Back Odds Handicap.
Creedence was having his first start for Cumani when successful over 1800m on June 6 and hopes the gelding has enough speed in his legs for Saturday’s 2000m journey.
“He’s a lovely horse and I’m really excited at how he will go on Saturday,” Cumani said.