Rarely do horses head to Kembla Grange with a recent success over a millionaire galloper under their belt, but David Vandyke was still hesitant to start Singing To Win today.
Vandyke's stable acquisition created a stir when ambling to a barrier trial win over Centennial Park from the yard of David Payne, who previously trained Singing To Win.
The four-year-old wasn't even ridden out in that trial and it came hot on the heels of an outstanding heat effort behind the promising Charge Account, another new addition for Vandyke.
"We haven't missed him at the trials, but he's drawn awkwardly and he's going to get back so he needs luck," Vandyke said before the Class 2 Handicap (1400m).
"Sometimes you can trial against a good horse and look good and then go back to race against average company and look bad. I'm optimistic that he's going to be a pretty serious contender [today].
"If it wasn't Kembla I would have probably scratched, but knowing Kembla's got that long straight he's going to get every opportunity once they turn for home."
Any Singing To Win success would be a welcome boost for Vandyke, attempting to shed the monkey off his back for clients Trevor Stuckey and his partner Penny Yan, of Racing To Win fame.
"We've had about 12 horses run for the clients and they've never had a winner and about eight have started favourite so we're desperate to win a race for them," Vandyke said.
"But they've been terrific and very patient [with Singing To Win]. We just hope we get the rewards [today]."
Singing To Win's sole win in six starts to date came in a Kembla maiden back in June over Tenacitus, who has since franked the form by winning in Sydney.
Vandyke intends to issue Kembla premiership leader Mitchell Bell with instructions to ride the son of O'Reilly quiet from the outside gate (13) first-up to test his suitability over further ground.
Stablemate Sparkling To Win, also raced by Stuckey and Yan, will resume after a short break in the Class 1 Handicap (1300m) at Kembla. Assessed Vandyke: "Freshen up, blinkers, but I don't know how honest he is. I expected him to run well last start and he didn't."