It was a vintage edition of the Group 2 $1 million Precise Air Premiere Stakes (1200m) and it was left to Think About It's trainer Joe Pride to wonder how he's going to handle the build up to the $20 million sprint with two live chances.
Think About It took his winning streak to eight and afformed his favouritism for the world's richest race on turf with a gutsy head win over a charging Hawaii Five Oh with Bella Nipotina in third, three-quarters of a length away.
The gelding joins his stablemate Private Eye, winner of the Shorts two weeks ago, in the Everest and Pride said he'd have at least a length or two up his sleeve for Everest Day.
"I will shave a couple of years off my life and keep him breathing and working,'' Pride said.
"I've got two to worry about so I can balance my stress between two horses and we'll be back here in couple of weeks' time with two horses ready to go.
"Big relief, it felt like there was more to lose today than to gain but it's good."
Sam Clipperton positioned Think About It behind the leader Lost And Running and angled for an inside run on the turn. As Lost And Running dropped off he was left exposed a long way out and Pride believes that experience will toughen him up for the TAB Everest.
He remained $4 favourite for the Everest on the back of the win.
"Overall pretty pleased with the way he's handled himself today,'' Pride said.
"He sort of looked a bit lost when he got to the front there and he's up against these big boys now he can't afford to do anything wrong. He wandered around a little bit, he'll take good improvement out of that.
"I'm sure it's the first time I've ever seen him ridden in behind them on the inside, there's not a lot of horses enjoy that.
"He's been a horse that Sam (Clipperton) has always been able to give a lot of galloping room to. I think that's really what he likes because he's such a big striding horse."
Clipperton said leading into the Premiere that Think About It is still learning and getting into a fight in his lead up run for the Everest will do him a world of good.
"He's hit the front so early and was looking for challengers,'' he said.
"One of this horse's greatest attributes is if something is down in his sights he really surges towards it. He had nothing in front of him from the 300m.
"When you've got a quality horse like Hawaii Five Oh chasing him down, especially with the way how Gai and Adrian's stable is going today.
"Plus Hawaii Five Oh has had a run on the board and my horse hasn't. I'm pretty certain my horse will be cherry ripe in two weeks' time."
Adrian Bott will recommend to Yulong that Alcohol Free take her place in the TAB Everest after the mare's game fourth while believes Hawaii Five Oh did more than enough to warrant earning a slot.
Yulong own Alcohol Free and a slot in the Everest so they only need to confirm she's their representative while connections of Hawaii Five Oh will be relying on one of the remaining slot holders, likely either Aquis or Chris Waller Racing to want to snap him up.
"The shape of the race probably didn't suit her,'' Bott said on Alcohol Free.
"She needs more high pressure to bring her stamina into the contest.
"I've spoken to Yulong and told them she is on track. From our perspective, she has done enough today.
"Hopefully that (run by Hawaii Five Oh) leaves us in a position to do some negotiating.
"We have tried to convince all the parties that still have slots to not make a decision before today because we wanted them to see Hawaii Five Oh. He has obviously put in a massive run here against The Everest favourite."
What the beaten jockeys said:
Nash Rawiller (Hawaii Five Oh): "Great effort. Just stepped a little bit awkwardly. He was trying to be first out. Got into a beautiful rhythm. The thing is he will thrive in a high pressure race of The Everest. Hopefully he gets picked up as a deserved contender. Just didn't quite get there today. There he was nearly running down the favourite. He got a sight of him and in the last two hops when he found again as we almost had him."
Craig Williams (Bella Nipotina): "Really brave performance. Ciaron Maher and David Eustace said she will even come on from today and you could see that the way she looked in her coat. Dwelt at the start. Followed the favourite and eventual winner and she dashed with them, ran really good time and was effective on very firm ground."
Jamie Kah (Lost And Running): "I think there is something not right with him at the moment. He's not feeling good in his action."
Blake Shinn (Athelric): "I thought the horse ran a creditable race. He was left exposed three wide doing the work. He stuck on well for something a bit easier."
Jason Collett (Kote): "He's run well in that grade of race."
Joao Moreira (Alcohol Free): "She runs good. Wasn't really suited by the pace with the two horses up the front not going that fast. She found herself a bit uncomfortable but still ran well."
James Mcdonald (Zapateo): "She has gone well. Stuck to her guns nicely. Just probably needed a bit of cover."