Trapeze Artist was unwanted at the sales and forgotten by punters, but was simply too good in the De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (G1) at Rosehill Sept. 23.
The son of Snitzel might only just be beginning, as trainer Gerald Ryan outlined an audacious plan to attempt to become the first 3-year-old since Noholme in 1959 to try and win the Epsom Handicap (G1) in the next seven days.
"People forget he was the second colt home in the Golden Slipper (G1), not handling the heavy track, and that he ran third in the Sires (Produce Stakes, G1)," Ryan said. "He is still in the Epsom for a reason and ... why not? He is that good."
In the Golden Rose, Trapeze Artist left his 3-year-old rivals well behind with his turn of foot despite a wide passage as a hefty $41 longshot.
Ryan spent most of the week answering questions about favorite Menari, another son of Snitzel, who won the Rosebud and Run To The Rose (G2) in the lead-up, but he always included Trapeze Artist in discussions.
Trapeze Artist took the less conventional route, with a sixth-place in the Up And Coming Stakes (G3) and a fourth in the Stan Fox (G2), but his trainer targeted the group 1 for Trapeze Artist and the addition of blinkers proved invaluable.
"I have been saying for two weeks this horse has been flying under the radar, because (of) the path I have taken with him ... people just forgot about him," Ryan said. "His coat had just come right in this week. I put blinkers on him third-up in the Black Opal (G3) as a 2-year-old and he peaked, and he did the same today.
"I always thought we would run top three and he has beaten them easy. I don't think I have had a horse win a group 1 that easy."
Trapeze Artist, who came from the outside gate, travelled on the back of his more fancied stablemate, fifth and sixth, but on the home turn, jockey Tye Angland eased alongside Menari as the pair made their claims.
It was quickly clear who was the superior colt Saturday.
"I got onto Menari's back from an awkward gate due to nice speed in the race. I actually had to pull off his back before the turn, because I was going too good," Angland said. "I felt like the winner a long way out, but this race has been a killer for me, so I tried to stay in the moment.
"When he let go I thought the only way he was going to get beaten (was by) something from back in the field, and it would have had to be pretty good."
Trapeze Artist stormed away to win by 4 1/4 lengths from filly Champagne Cuddles to fulfill the group 1 dream of owner Bert Vieira, who retained the colt when he didn't reach his reserve as a yearling.
"I've been very lucky. He's a beautiful horse. He's always been a beautiful horse—right from the start. It is so great that I got to race him and give him to the best trainer of Snitzels in Gerald Ryan," Vieira said. "I've spent millions on this game, and don't regret any of it, but everyone wants that group 1-winning colt and I can now say I've got that.''
Chris Roots is chief racing writer for the Sydney Morning Herald