Main Stage heads to grand finalSunday 22 October 2017
Trainer Natalie Young is happy to ride on Richmond star Dustin Martin's coat-tails as Main Stage heads for his "grand final" in the $1.5 million Group One Victoria Derby.
The three-year-old gelding has been displaced as Derby favourite by Cliff's Edge after the Darren Weir-trained colt's win in Saturday's Group Three Caulfield Classic.
His co-trainer believes Main Stage remains on target for the Derby on November 4, despite finishing third.
"I'm not actually that disappointed with the run," Young said.
"He still hit the line nicely, made up a bit of ground. It seemed to be a little bit of leaders' bias too so it was not really going to be the course for him.
"But we got that 2000 metres and that distance into his legs and that's the main thing for the grand final on the fourth."
Young, who trains with her partner Trent Busuttin, said jumping from barrier one did not suit Main Stage, who did not settle well.
"We'll just get him back, freshen him for the next week and then carry on for Flemington," she said.
Main Stage's large group of owners includes the Dusty Boys syndicate of Martin, fellow Tigers Josh Caddy, Reece Conca, Dion Prestia, Anthony Miles and assistant coach Andrew McQualter.
Young has welcomed the additional attention on the horse after Richmond won the grand final and Martin became the first AFL player to take home the Brownlow Medal, a premiership medallion and the Norm Smith Medal in the same season.
"It's been really great," she said.
"We're riding on Dusty's coat-tails but we've still got to deliver."
Martin is holidaying in the US with close mate and fellow Brownlow Medallist and Collingwood premiership player Dane Swan.
It appears unlikely he will return in time for the Derby, but Young would love to see the star at Flemington for Main Stage's grand final.
"Hopefully we can get Dusty Martin on course," she said.
"He might just have to break his Vegas trip short and come racing with the Busuttin team."