The world's second best sprinter may lay in wait, but little-known Kembla Grange trainer Erwin Takacs insists he's not making up the numbers with recent stable acquisition Fire Thunderbolt in the Group 1 Challenge Stakes (1000m).
Set to unleash the former Phillip Stokes-trained three-year-old in the blue riband sprint at Warwick Farm today, Takacs expects Fire Thunderbolt to be in the finish against the likes of Hay List and co.
The California Dane three-year-old, a winner at Listed level as a juvenile, came within a whisker of toppling high-class filly Snitzerland last spring.
He then flashed home behind Nechita in the Coolmore Classic for three-year-olds before heat stress put an abrupt end to his carnival after the Patinack Farm Classic.
Both sprints were at Group 1 level up the famous Flemington straight.
"We'll be in the mix, don't worry about that," Takacs said of a daunting first-up Challenge Stakes assignment. "I thought he was over the odds because they don't know who I am.
"I expect him to run a big race. If he can produce the form in Melbourne he showed against Snitzerland, I expect him to be in the mix."
Fire Thunderbolt landed in Takacs' Kembla yard at the urgings of longtime stable client Michael Colemane, who spelled the horse on his Jamberoo property.
Takacs fitted Fire Thunderbolt with a neat trial at Warwick Farm last month and warned punters not to be too dismayed with an underwhelming exhibition gallop at Kembla recently.
Gwenda Markwell's recent mid-week metropolitan winner Alesteem made light work of Fire Thunderbolt in a 800-metre hitout.
"It wasn't a bad run, even though he wasn't ready," Takacs said. "They went 44.5 [seconds] and they don't run that.
"She [Alesteem] was race fit and then came out and broke the track record the following week. Since then he's improved."
Bookmakers have fielded early support for Fire Thunderbolt in the Challenge Stakes, winding him in to $31 after an opening price of $35 was on offer.
Under the weight-for-age scale, Fire Thunderbolt will only receive a 2.5-kilogram buffer on millionaire galloper Hay List, a three-time Group 1 winner and the only horse to test champion Black Caviar's resolve in Australia.
Takacs admitted Fire Thunderbolt was badly weighted in comparison to his more experienced rivals, but it wouldn't deter him from enjoying his greatest thrill in racing.