Mirage Dancer was bought last year as a cups prospect in the belief he could develop into a weight-for-age horse, but Busuttin lowered his sights after the autumn.
“He was a highly rated stayer when he came here and we thought he would step up,” Busuttin said. “He ran third in the Caulfield Cup off the plane, then didn’t get the two miles in the Melbourne Cup.
“I actually thought he would be an Australian Cup horse. He ended up just a touch below that, but his weights in these handicaps were still good. I still think he could win one of these at 2400m.”
Mirage Dancer should relish the firm going at Randwick on Saturday. He won two Tapster Stakes at Goodwood in the UK and a Glorious Stakes when the going was good.
Not only is it rare for him to be down in the weights since arriving in Australia, he hasn’t seen firm going that often either and, when he has, he was placed in the Caulfield Cup and Peter Young Stakes earlier in the year.
“I think he handles all surfaces, but he has a really good record on firmer tracks,” Busuttin said. “It certainly won’t be against him the track being firm.
“I think he has come back in pretty good form and his targets have been this race and the Caulfield Cup since returning.”
Mirage Dancer closed off well first-up when finishing midfield in the Heatherlie Stakes at Caulfield in August when beaten only 2 1/4 lengths, before being fourth in the JRA Cup, but was not suited by the tight turns of Moonee Valley.
“He might not have won in Australia, but he has never been in with a weight like this before,” Busuttin said. “He has carried 62 [kilograms] and 61 at his two runs this prep, so 55.5kg is a luxury.
“We have a gun jockey in Nash Rawiller booked to ride and I think he is at his best at the 2400m, and he showed he liked Randwick when he was third in the Chairman’s Handicap in the autumn.
“The favourite [Mugatoo] is still going to be tough to beat, but I know my horse will run out the trip.”
While Busuttin is very happy with the weight for Mirage Dancer, which is a $15 chance, Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett said the worry for $2.80 favourite Mugatoo is lumping the 57kg.
“I think he has been weighted on potential and that is always very dangerous,” Lovett said. “He was very good in winning the Newcastle Cup, but we were surprised he got the kilo penalty.
“He is flying at the moment, but he will have to be very good to win with that weight.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald