Chautauqua (Encosta De Lago) still remains a chance for an extraordinary late shot at The TAB Everest after successfully jumping out at Flemington on Friday morning.
The 8-year-old, who has refused to jump in a series of trials over the past few months, was thrown a final lifeline by stewards to resurrect his career if he can successfully complete two barrier trials or jumpouts.
He is now halfway to achieving that, leaving with his rivals in Friday's jumpout before trailing in the four-horse field.
The $13 million Everest may be just three weeks' away but managing owner Rupert Legh said if the grey can find another trial in the coming fortnight, he may yet fill the final spot in the 12-horse field.
"They said to me that they would be silly not to wait to see what Chautauqua does because he is the obvious choice to go into The Everest." - Rupert Legh
Legh said that he had been in conversation with the final slot holders for The Everest, Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, who are in no hurry to make their mind up on who will run for them.
"There is still a glimmer of hope with the Everest. I mean I’m in contact with the only slot holder at the moment. As you can imagine they are under no pressure to make a hasty decision,” Legh told RSN's Racing Pulse.
"They said to me that they would be silly not to wait to see what Chautauqua does because he is the obvious choice to go into The Everest."
"That’s still a fair way off, but we have crossed that little bridge today and I think with the amount of time we’ve got, there's a small hope and I’ve got to say small hope we may still get to The Everest,” he said.
Whitby and Werrett have effectively got until the Monday, October 8, to decide who they want to run for them.
Legh said he had also been in discussion with Moonee Valley about the possibility of convening a special trial between races either next Friday, which is the opening night meeting of the season, or the following week.
A successful get away there would see stewards allow Chautauqua to enter races again.
If he doesn't get into The Everest, the other likely destination is the G1 Manikato S at Moonee Valley on October 26 and possible onwards to the Darley Classic at Flemington on November 10.
Trainer Wayne Hawkes is just happy to see the three-time G1 TJ Smith S. winner on track to getting his ticket to race back.
"We're not getting ahead of ourselves, it's only a jumpout but it's a step in the right direction." - Wayne Hawkes
"It was great to see him jump away," Hawkes said. "It's been a lot of hard work from everyone in Sydney, all I've done is just welcome him back here at Flemington"
"We're not getting ahead of ourselves, it's only a jumpout but it's a step in the right direction. He did seem a different horse when he came back to us - he came with a different attitude for sure, there was a real difference to him and I think it showed this morning."
"He wasn't out there to have a hard trial, it was all about the first five seconds and he's passed that so we'll just see what happens, speak to the stewards and see what we have to do."
"The dream hasn't died but it's still alive shall we say."