Paul Preusker is often left scratching his head after watching the New Zealand-bred Surprise Baby gallop at trackwork.
Despite his predilection for a staying trip, the Adelaide Cup winner regularly holds his own against several of the stable's better speedsters, including Wangoom winner I Am Someone and Indian Thunder in recent weeks.
It's why, despite admitting it's a tune-up for the coveted Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) later this month, Preusker believes the four-year-old can continue his meteoric rise in Saturday's Brew Handicap (2600m) at Flemington, in what is his first appearance since his famous Group Two win at Morphettville in March.
On that day, in what was only his sixth career start, the son of Shocking easily accounted for his more-seasoned rivals in the two-mile contest, prompting several good judges to talk up his Melbourne Cup prospects.
"It's a stepping stone to the Andrew Ramsden Stakes so he'll improve but in saying that, he's nice and forward so I'm expecting a good run," Preusker said.
"He's probably only five or six kilograms off his fighting weight.
"He's an unusual horse but he's a very gifted horse and I shake my head sometimes, I've never had a stayer like him with his turn of foot.
"A fortnight ago he was the sparring partner for I Am Someone and went with him and this week he did it again with Indian Thunder."
Surprise Baby ($6.50) will lump the 60kg for Dean Holland and will meet an in-form and hard-fit Steel Prince ($1.95), who is unbeaten in three starts this campaign, including a dominant four-length victory in similar class last start.
Stephen Marsh's Kiwi raider Felaar adds another dimension to the race and crosses the Tasman after victory in the Listed Hawkes Bay Cup over 2200m. -racing.com