Ryley Major showed he is a contender for this year's Tasmania Cup after smashing the track record in his qualifying heat at Hobart on Saturday night.
The nine-year-old won the Tasmania Cup back in 2020 and following his latest performance around the 2579m track he looks to be in the hunt once again.
Ryley Major smashed his own track record when producing a mile rate of 1m 57.8 seconds, much to the delight of trainer-driver Rohan Hillier.
"He was really good, and obviously the time was good, but his times at home has been probably the best they have ever been, so I was expecting a forward running, we obviously had a few favours, but he still hit the line really good," Hillier told reporters after the race.
The win was even more impressive as Ryley Major started off a 30m handicap but made light work of it to get the job done.
Ryley Major edged out Gotta Good Reason by 2.4 metres with Im Off N Gone a further 6.1m away third.
"That (tempo) suits him. I know it is hard to win off 30 (metres) when they are running along in front, but it sorts the men out from the boys, and obviously, he was one of the strongest horses in the race, and he just sort of needs some sort of luck in the last 5-600 (metres)," Hillier added.
The $100,000 Group 1 final on will be races on 19th March and Hiller believes his charge may have actually improved since his win back in 2020.
"I don't think he is as sharp, but I think he can stay a lot better. I have actually started working him a lot harder this time in, and he is copping it and seems to be a lot better," Hillier said.
"I know he is nine, and it may seem a bit strange, but he is going as good as he has ever gone, I reckon."