Hvasstan produced a strong Australian Derby trial at Moonee Valley on Friday night with an impressive win in the $220,000, Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m).
The Peter Gelagotis-trained colt progressed from his fourth in the G1 Australian Guineas to score a strong win beating highly regarded pair Philippi and Sheer Talent.
Hvasstan is now on the third line of betting for the G1 Australian Derby at Randwick on April 13.
It would be hard for Moe-based Gelagotis not to head to Sydney after Craig Newitt rode Hvasstan to his fourth wins from 10 starts.
Newitt was caught in a jostle for position when the pressure was applied going out of the straight the first time but held his nerve and settled in the prime spot one off the fence behind the leaders.
The in-form jockey, who won last week's G1 Newmarket Handicap on Shamexpress, edged into the clear approaching the home turn and cruised alongside Sheer Talent at the 200m before quickly opening a winning lead.
At the line he had a length to spare over Philippi, who settled last but worked home solidly to nose out Sheer Talent for second placing.
Newitt celebrated his second Alister Clark Stakes success in the past five years.
“I just had to hold my line going into that first turny,” Newitt said. “He was going to win a long way out.”
Sheer Talent's rider Michael Rodd was the big loser as he was suspended for 14 meetings for causing interference to Hvasstan and Bass Strait in the early stages.
He can resume riding on March 29.
Dale Smith was also suspended suspended until March 29 for causing interference on his wining ride on Loveyamadly in the seventh race.