Mark Schmetzer thought he was buying an "athletic and forward-looking" horse when he put his hand up for Torio Away - only now he's realising one half of that assessment was a little astray.
He may have had the athletic part right, but the forward-looking part of the equation wasn't. So when the slow-maturing gelding, picked up as a $20,000 yearling, slipped on a wet surface and bruised a tendon before starting this preparation, Schmetzer found it to be a blessing in disguise.
"It was just bruised so we gave him another couple of months off," the Canberra-based trainer said.
"He had twice as long out as what he was originally going to have, but it served him well.
"He grew a little bit, matured a bit and he's still got to mature a little bit more yet and it's taken a while for the penny to drop."
That penny may have yet to fall - four placings from seven starts is a testament to that - but Schmetzer is hoping a sprinkling of Nash Rawiller magic will change that in Tuesday's Maiden Plate (1500m).
The Oratorio three-year-old has twice struck one better in starts at Wagga and Hawkesbury leading into this test. And prior to that, he came from near last on Wagga Cup day to run fourth in a handy maiden.
"He did all the hard yards at Hawkesbury the other day and got run down the last little bit ... I think with that run under his belt will improve him condition-wise as he still looks a little bit fat - it should tighten him up a bit," Schmetzer said.
"He just hasn't had the luck. He probably should have won first-up this prep on Wagga Cup day and he got back next start at Wagga and hit the line well after the tempo didn't suit him. He just hasn't had a lot of luck.
"We probably won't try to get to the front too far out as we did the other day because he got a little bit lost."