The Wellington Boot is not a traditional pathway to the Sydney spring carnival but that's the offbeat route Joe Pride has taken with little-known three-year-old Superium.
The gelding will line up against a promising field of emerging young horses in the Up And Coming Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday having put the writing on the wall with an eye-catching first-up fourth to Dawn Passage in the Rosebud.
But his foray to town has only come this campaign with Pride opting to give the horse his grounding on the country circuit where he scored consecutive wins at Bathurst and Wellington as a juvenile.
"The two-year-old racing at that time of year was pretty stiff in town so I thought, let's start with Bathurst and the logical thing next seemed to be to give him a go at the Wellington Boot," Pride said.
"He managed to pick up some good prize money. He earned nearly $100,000 in those two starts."
Despite his humble beginnings, Superium has always been held in high regard by Pride.
The nature of his debut win at Bathurst convinced the trainer he had a promising horse and Superium's Rosebud performance confirmed it.
He will have to take another step on Saturday when he lines up against a largely untapped talent pool of horses including promising Chris Waller-trained pair Lucicello and True Detective and last-start winners Mandela and Famous for Peter and Paul Snowden.
"I like him. He's really an emerging horse," Pride said.
"I'm not sure how far he can get but he's got plenty of the qualities I like to see in a horse and hopefully we don't find the cap to him any time soon."
Superium will be one of four Randwick runners for Pride along with Mandylion in the Show County Quality (1200m), Brook Magic who needs to overcome an awkward draw in the Toy Show Quality (1100m) and Cyber Intervention in the City Tattersalls Club Handicap (1600m).
The latter has been a source of consternation for Pride, following two promising placings with a distant and inexplicable performance to finish last at Randwick earlier this month.
"It's probably the question I've been asked most in the last month, 'what happened to Cyber Intervention the other day?'" Pride said.
"I'm not able to give an answer. I'm so curious myself. I trialled him seven days later and he trialled really well."
Pride suspects several factors contributed to the flop, including wet tracks taking their toll, but he is confident the horse can repay the faith of supporters.
"He's a good horse and I think he'll bounce back on Saturday," he said.