Champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller's golden touch glitters as brightly in Melbourne as it does in his home city – Foreteller, who upset the Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune in the group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes, the latest example of the Kiwi's polish.
The seven-year-old son of Dansili always seems to go off at generous odds, and Saturday's 1600-metre victory was no different as he started at $15 and nosed out the $2.35 hotpot by a short half-head.
Ciaron Maher's injury-prone veteran Moudre ($91) belied his massive odds with a terrific late effort to take third, 1¾ lengths behind.
Much was expected from the Lloyd Williams import Sea Moon ($4), who came to Australia with some of the best formlines of a horse brought here from Europe.
But the six-year-old lost all chance at the start when he sprawled on leaving the barriers and was left several lengths in arrears. He eventually found his feet and finished off well enough in 12th position, two spots ahead of his stable companion Masked Marvel, another well-credentialled import.
Foreteller will now be stepped up in distance, with the 2400-metre Caulfield Cup as his possible spring grand final.
Puissance De Lune, who looked on his toes in the yard, needs more racing, according to his trainer Darren Weir, and he too will be seen to greater advantage when the distances get longer. He is likely to run next over 1800 metres in the group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on October 21 as he continues his journey towards the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup.
Justine Hales, the Melbourne stable foreman for Waller's satellite operation at Flemington, was full of praise for winning jockey Craig Newitt, whose tactics were to track Puissance De Lune.
"There was only one horse I really wanted to be following. I was a bit surprised he was back with us, but my bloke just travelled," Newitt said. "Chris said not to move on him until the latest possible moment. He had to reel off some good times and really tough it out against the grey horse, and he did."
Weir said Puissance De Lune would take plenty of benefit from a solid hit-out, while owner Gerry Ryan was quick to point out that this race was certainly not his galloper's major target.
"He still ran well, everything is good for going forward," Weir said. "Bossy said he was out on his feet the last hundred and he really tried on the line.
"The way he's doing in himself he needs racing. He looked a bit fired up. I am still happy enough with him."
Ryan added: "The horse is still a little bit underdone, and to be here in a 1600-metre group 1 is definitely a bonus. We never expected it to be a 1600-metre horse, and he didn't miss by much. There's no point in peaking today."
Boss said: "The race didn't pan out like I wanted. He surged to win, but his condition gave out."