Feature staying events beckon Highlad, who has already made his mark at black type level.
The High Chaparral five-year-old gelding warmed up for Group racing when leading home a stable quinella in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Qualifier (2100m) at Te Rapa on Saturday for Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman with his defeat of Victory Drive.
Highlad showed early potential when he won the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) to earn a trip to Melbourne where he placed in the UCI Stakes (1800m).
“He was a big baby and he’s matured now and his manners are a lot better,” Forsman said.
After jumping awkwardly, Highlad settled in the trail and once into the clear in the straight he lengthened stride to win by a length and a-half.
“It was a good effort and I was happy with the way he had to change ground to hit the line hard,” Forsman said.
“We’ll obviously look at the cup races, probably the Avondale Cup next time.”
Highlad’s rider Matt Cameron overcame an early scare before settling on the fence and rounding off strongly in the run home.
“When they jumped he had a good look at the inside and then swerved out and I lost my balance, but he got the job done. He’s a late maturing horse and he likes the sting out of the ground.”
Highlad completed a clean open handicap sweep for the stable and Cameron after Tomelilla claimed the Lodge City Rentals 1600m.
“She normally gets back and that leaves her too much to do, but she jumped well today,” Forsman said.
Tomelilla came out of the trail before the turn and mastered the pacemaker Matimba to score by half a length