It's not often Theresa Bateup begins a horse's preparation in a Listed race.
In fact it's not something the Kembla Grange trainer has done at all.
A careful planner with a penchant for finding races at the country and provincial level to pick off, Bateup is not afraid to travel to get her, and her owners', hands on a winner's cheque.
But on Saturday she is going straight to the big leagues.
Noble Boy, last year's Winter Stakes winner, will line up in the Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes at Randwick for his first race with the trainer.
The gelding is currently $19 with the TAB fixed odds, Wandabaa and Ballistic Lover the joint $4.60 favourites.
With Bateup still working her way around the six-year-old, she's eager to see how his efforts at trackwork translate to raceday.
"We're really happy with him," Bateup said. "We're still working him out, so I'm not going into Saturday with huge expectations.
"It will be more of a fitness run for him, 1100 metres is shorter than his best especially now he's a bit older. He does have a nice gate, a nice soft track that he likes, he'll look to settle back in the field and finish nicely. We'll walk away from it knowing a lot more about him."
A triumph in the Bob Charley AO Stakes will mark Bateup's first black-type winner, Monegal coming closest when fifth in last year's Group 3 Belle of the Turf Stakes.
The trainer's primary target for the campaign is the Listed Ramornie Handicap in Grafton next month.
Raced over 1200m, Bateup feels it's perfect for Noble Boy and she's confident Saturday's contest will lay the foundation for a trip north.
"I've had the odd runner in Listed races, but they've always been outsiders. We haven't ticked that box yet, it's something we aim to do.
"There's a stack of improvement in Noble Boy. He's going to improve fitness-wise, there's nothing like raceday to top them off, especially as they get older. He's relaxed in his work now and will only get better."
Noble Boy's arrival at Kembla Grange comes as Bateup steadily builds a talent-laden stable.
Monegal is a two-time Saturday city winner, with The Guru commencing his winter prep at Warwick Farm on Monday. She also boasts a stack of promising yearlings and two-year-olds and a growing ownership group.
With a stable now approaching 60 horses, Bateup is determined to ensure Noble Boy isn't her only stakes contender in the coming years.
"It's a good learning experience," the trainer said. "Every horse you get is slightly different and you learn something off them.
"Noble Boy is a lovely animal, a lovely horse to do anything with. That's what you aspire to, having that calibre in the stable and hopefully I can step up to that grade."