John F Feehan Stakes aspirant Beau Balmain (inside) was overhauled late at Flemington.
Trainer Jim Conlan sees the John F Feehan Stakes a guide to spring options for his Cups hope Beau Balmain at The Valley.
But Conlan fears the stayer may be balloted from the weight-for-age contest and as a back-up option has entered Beau Balmain in the 2040m handicap on Saturday’s program.
“I want to run in the Feehan,” Conlan said.
“I think he’s still sharp enough for the mile and that will show us where we’re at with him.”
A German-bred import, Beau Balmain had three runs earlier in the winter with his best finish a narrow second to Future Score in the final of the Banjo Patterson Series (2500m) at Flemington on July 6.
After being freshened, Beau Balmain, under Damien Oliver, finished fourth over 1600m at Caulfield on August 17.
That was the shortest distance Beau Balmain has raced over in his eight-start career that netted him two victories before leaving Germany.
“He was underdone the other day,” Conlan said.
“He was going to trial the following Monday but I knew it was going to be a bog track and I knew I was going to get a better surface at Caulfield.
“Ollie rode him and was trying to make it like a trial but the horse was fresh and charged early, did all his work up the hill, sat outside the leader and when the leader fainted on the turn it left him in front.
“In the end he was beaten a length.
“It was a terrific trial but it would have been nice if it was a winning trial.”
Conlan said it was the first time he would be going into a race having Beau Balmain fit for the event.
He said even though Beau Balmain had been racing over longer distances during winter, he was fit, but not fit for specific race.
“He got beaten an inch at Flemington and if he’d won that he’d be a certain starter in the Feehan,” Conlan said.
“If he runs fifth or sixth, we’ll know that’s where he sits and if he runs eighth or ninth, we’ll that’s where he sits.
Conlan said The Valley should suit Beau Balmain who worked at the track on Tuesday.
“The race will determine his spring fate.”