The riches of the Gold Cup could await Steamin' after a strong win at Dubbo Turf Club on Friday.
A regular on the country cup circuit, the Michael Mulholland-trained gelding now looks set to contest the $100,000 Dubbo feature in September after taking out the Reeve Wheeler Memorial Open Handicap (1620m).
Jockey Greg Ryan went against the grain by rattling home along the rails to claim victory, the day's earlier winners predominantly coming from wide on the Dubbo track.
Ryan's decision worked as Steamin' won for the Wellington trainer by a comfortable two lengths.
The third-up win came after a fourth-placed finish in the XXXX Cup at Mudgee last time out.
"He's been thereabouts and gone close," Mulholland said after the win.
"Last preparation he went very close to the bigger cups, running thirds and fourth but this time, third up, he was ready for it."
This time, third up, he was ready for it.Steamin' trainer Michael Mulholland
Mulholland went on to say the Gold Cup is now "on the cards" after the slick win.
A victory in a major feature is something that has evaded Mulholland and Steamin' but, as the trainer alluded to, the pair have gone close in the past.
Last preparation included a third-placed finish in the Cotton Cup at Warren and a fourth in the Mudgee Cup, while he also contested the Sandy Hollow Cup and Kayuga Cup at Muswellbrook, running third and fourth there respectively.
Ryan and Steamin' ($3.50) got away as expected in Thursday's memorial event, settling towards the back of the field of nine horses while the Clint Lundholm-trained Any Blinkin' Day ($3.20) skipped out to an early lead of almost three lengths.
Hometown hope Any Blinkin' Day continued to lead the field as they rounded towards the straight, while Ryan had begun to sneak up along the rails with the Mulholland-trained seven-year-old.
Much of the attention was out wide on the track in the straight, as Any Blinkin' Day was surrounded by challengers.
New Endeavour ($9) had sat second for much of the journey and pushed further forward, while on the extreme outside the Dar Lunn-trained Helstar ($11) and Annecy ($10), from the Bathurst stables of Don and Andrew Ryan, surged into contention.
But it quickly became clear the one to watch was on the inside, and Steamin' quickly took control of things on the way to victory.
"They all pushed off the rails and he's always normally last or second last at the corner and comes home hard but he got there pretty easy today," Mulholland said of the win.
Dubbo trainer Lunn's Helstar finished second, while Annecy finished off well in third.