Balf's Choice (Image: Atkins Photography)
Ryan Balfour is confident stable favourite Balf's Choice won't disappoint his legion of South Australian fans when he lines up in Saturday's $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington.
The son of Written Tycoon was the first horse to secure a slot in the race thanks to receiving almost 10,000 of the 140,000 votes cast by the public.
While he concedes that his $151 outsider faces a stiff challenge against the likes of Alizee ($3), Mystic Journey ($3.50) and Happy Clapper ($5), Balfour said the six-year-old could not be in better condition ahead of his float trip to Melbourne on Thursday.
The Morphettville horseman said he'd been pleased with the gelding's work since his most recent run when unplaced.
"Simon Price was very happy with his gallop here on Tuesday morning," Balfour said.
"We've freshened him up nicely, the blinkers go on and he looks great in himself.
"We've got him going as good as we can have him and he needs to be at his best because he's up against some of the best horses in the country.
"We know they are top liners so we'd be rapt to see him run around fifth or sixth, I think that's a realistic target and I said to Simon that if we drew a good gate which he have, we can map really well.
"We're definitely going to ride him more positive, he's been ridden quiet lately because we were looking at going out over a longer distance, but in his Balaclava Cup win he actually led that day and when he won the Seymour Cup he sat in the one-one."
Regardless of Saturday's result, Balfour - who has saddled up multiple Stakes winners as well as Group 1 runners during his short career - said The All-Star Mile would provide him with his biggest moment in racing.
A $20,000 purchase at the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale, Balf's Choice was named after the trainer's father, David Balfour, who passed away in 2014. Thanks to Stakes wins in the Balaklava Cup and Seymour Cup, he's collected $380,000 in prizemoney for connections.
"This is by far the biggest race I've been involved in," he said.
"And it's definitely special to share it with Simon and do it with this horse.
"Simon has been influential in my career and he was stable rider for my Dad in Singapore.
"And the horse is obviously named after my Dad so it's a bit special."