Assertive Approach passed an audition of sorts for next month's $1 million Moir Stakes when he won at his first run over the 1000-metre course in the Listed Carlyon Stakes at The Valley on Saturday.
The win was hardly unexpected for the four-year-old after three wins and a second placing to begin his career, but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said the performance had much merit despite there being just a short neck advantage for the $2.70 favourite over the returning Bons Away.
"He's done a pretty good job," Hawkes said. "The second horse has had 26 race starts and he's had just five so he's just a baby who is learning what it's all about.
"He'll be some sort of horse this time next year that's for sure."
Hawkes said he was wary about taking Assertive Approach out of his class into this Group 1 Moir over the same horse as he had so much improvement left in him.
But when you've got a pure speedster in form a month out from a $1m race, Hawkes has learned never to say never.
"The Moir Stakes is certainly on the radar," he conceded.
"He's young, dumb and has no idea what's he doing yet. But he's certainly going places.
"He half gets there and half loses it. He just really doesn't know to knuckle down and attack the line. I might have been a bit unfair on him - he's probably run some great sectionals - but he just wanders that little bit and that's what got him beaten (at Flemington) the other day."