Huegill is the horse punters want in the Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield with the colt deposing Benfica as favourite for the Listed event.
The Caulfield Guineas placegetter has been backed from $5.50 to $4.20 with TAB Sportsbet and has a 3.5kg weight advantage over topweight Benfica, who has drifted from $4 to $4.80 for Thursday’s 1200m race.
Trainer Peter Moody had an encouraging report on Huegill.
“He’s returned in great shape. We spelled him after his good third in the Caulfield Guineas,” Moody said.
“He was an immature type of colt but he’s really furnished out nicely with his spring-summer break.
“I think he’s going to be at his best at a mile, maybe even a mile-and-a-quarter.
“But being big and strong and fresh and happy, I think he’ll run very well in the Zeditave.”
Huegill, to be ridden by Luke Nolen, drew barrier eight in the 10-horse field and Moody said the colt would be ridden midfield.
There looks to be good speed with the likes of on-pacers Petman, Pakari Toa and It Is Written engaged.
“I think, ridden patiently, not right back but midfield, he should be able to stay in touch with them,” Moody said.
“He’s got good speed if required but I think ridden a bit patiently with nice cover he’ll be very strong late.
“He heads towards the Australian Guineas and I take heart from the fact that he was quite immature when horses like Helmet and Manawanui beat him comprehensively in the spring.
“But it’s hard to see where they are going to improve.
“They may, and if they do they are too good for us.
“But if they don’t, my bloke has found quite a bit of that margin with his break and I’m looking forward to taking them on again at a mile.”
Benfica is also heading towards the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 3 as are fellow Zeditave hopefuls Specter, Instinction, Adamantium, Mister Milton and Unpretentious.
The Peter Snowden-trained Benfica hasn’t raced since winning the Group One T J Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm in June but is unbeaten in two first-up starts.