The Cox Plate drought for Lloyd Williams and his team from Macedon Lodge could be nearing an end following the impressive first-up Group 2 Feehan Stakes win of Homesman at The Valley on Saturday.
Last year's Caulfield Cup runner-up, who hasn't raced since that day when he was nosed out by Best Solution, showed he had returned at least equally as good if not better this spring when he cruised to the line two-and-a-half lengths clear.
"I can tell you that nothing in racing would mean more to us than getting our hands on a Cox Plate," part-owner Nick Williams said.
"We've tried many times and come up short but he's certainly heading the right way.
"Since he's been in this time, the Cox Plate has been his aim."
Williams said Homesman's race style of riding the pace was an advantage.
"He takes a lot of luck out of the game (with his style)," Williams said. "He's a very versatile horse. You can ride him forward, you can ride him anywhere and he's tough."
On the line, Homesman ($5) had a comfortable advantage over Mahamedeis ($26), with Best Of Days ($7.50) back in third place just ahead of Surprise Baby ($9.50).
As for not racing Homesman over during autumn, Williams added: "He'd had a busy spring and autumn before that and we thought a break would give him the best chance to win the Cox Plate."
Homesman (USA) abd Ben Melham, picture Quentinjlang.com
Jockey Ben Melham was also thinking of the $5 million race at The Valley in six weeks.
"There's a big carrot there to win a Cox Plate and he's probably got a genuine chance of being capable of winning a Cox Plate," he said.
Homesman had drawn gate 13 in the 15-horse field, so Melham said he had to be wary about where the horse was to settle but was happy when Trap For Fools surged to the lead down the back.
"It worked out well," Melham said. "The leader was a bit eager to get over to the rail and it worked out well for me.
"We got a beautiful cart off him. He rolled at a nice tempo but I just traveled sweetly the whole way and his class shone through."
Melham said he felt the horse could have improved on last year when he won the G1 Underwood Stakes before his narrow Caulfield Cup defeat.
"Possibly he's more seasoned," Melham said. "He's always been a good galloper but I was really taken by his win today.
"His turn of foot was sharp over an unsuitable trip for him. That was the most pleasing sign."
Jordan Childs said Surprise Baby was strong first-up.
"He ran super," he said. "Missed the kick a little bit and was beaten for a bit of speed early.
"He ended up getting a nice run throughout and I thought he hit the line really well."