Sydney based trainer Matthew Smith wishes there was more true staying tests for True Marvel and has sent him on another trip to Melbourne to contest the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year's Day.
Unfortunately for Smith he struggles to find races that are long enough for True Marvel who has won up to 3800m.
Australia's longest flat race, the Jericho Cup over 4600m, would be ideal, but being a French-bred True Marvel is not eligible to run in that yearly contest at Warrnambool.
Instead, Smith must pour over the racing programs of different states to find suitable staying races with Sunday's Bagot Handicap being the best option.
"I wish it was further," Smith said of Sunday's contest.
"There are just not that many races for him. Anything that we can find over a mile-and-a-half and further we've got to try and send him around in them.
"But I must say he's going well. He ran quite well the other day at Randwick over 2000 metres. I know he was beaten a fair way, but his sectionals were good."
Smith said it was more a lack of suitable options for True Marvel rather than his form that was a cause of frustration for the trainer.
True Marvel's last win came in a benchmark 78 race over 3800m at Moonee Valley in November 2021, although the stayer has finished second in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), second over 3400m in Canberra and fifth in this year's Sandown Cup since that win.
"What he needs is a suitable benchmark race over two miles, but that they don't put them on too often," Smith said.
"He's also better on a wet track, but you have to take what's on offer when it's available."
Smith said Persan and Nobel Heights, who fought out the finish of the Listed JRA Trophy (2600m) at Flemington on December 17 were the ones to beat on Sunday.
"Hopefully they have an off day, and we have a good one," Smith said.