Illustrious Lad heads to Dubai in perfect shape, pleasing his stable with his second in a Cranbourne barrier trial highlighted by Chautauqua's refusal to participate.
The Peter Gelagotis-trained Illustrious Lad finished second to Pleasant in yesterday's 800-metre trial and leaves tonight to run in the Al Quoz Sprint over the straight 1200 metres at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night, March 31.
He will be joined by the Bjorn Baker-trained Music Magnate and Lindsay Park's Faatinah in the Group One sprint.
While champion sprinter Chautauqua's racing future hangs in the balance, stable manager manny Gelagotis said Illustrious Lad was in perfect shape after having a few niggles following his unplaced run in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield last month.
"We've seen his best form when he's on his A-game," Gelagotis said. "He ran fifth in a hot Lightning Stakes and he's a Group Two winner in Australia and he'd be a serious contender wherever he went.
"He's in the right frame of mind and what we saw this morning was the Illustrious Lad of old."
Gelagotis doesn't expect the trip to Dubai to be a concern for Illustrious Lad, who has travelled around Australia.
"He's a seasoned horse now and if he's ever going to travel (overseas) it's time to travel now," Gelagotis said.
"We're as confident as can be that he'll cope with the trip and more importantly we're going there with the horse in good shape.
"It's a great experience for everyone. The owners, the training establishment and the horse as well to be travelling."
Gelagotis says he doesn't see the race in Dubai being as strong as the Group One sprints in Australia, and importantly the gelding has performed well on the straight track at Flemington.
"He's a straight track specialist as well, so we're looking forward to getting over there," he said. "This race is not a Newmarket Handicap or a TJ Smith.
"I think he's well placed and if he travels well and if he finds his best, he'll be highly competitive."