CHASING CHARLIE, a debut winner at Canberra on Friday, is on track for the $250,000 Inglis Nursery (1000 metres) at Warwick Farm on December 22, according to co-trainer Paul Jones.
The Myboycharlie gelding comfortably won the Slickpix 2YO Maiden Plate (1000 metres) at Thoroughbred Park despite a scare at the 200 metres where jockey Carl Spry was almost dislodged.
''He spotted something out of his right eye and veered a hard left,'' Jones said. ''I wasn't sure if he saw the big square 200-metre sign, or he might have caught a glimpse of Carl getting the whip ready.
''I think it probably cost him about four or five lengths.''
With the $250,000 Black Opal Stakes less than four months away, Jones said Canberra's flagship race was a realistic goal for Chasing Charlie.
''There's no secret that it's been a race that mum [co-trainer Barbara Joseph] and I want to win, but it's getting harder and harder to win each year,'' Jones said.
''As the prizemoney goes up, you get the better quality of horses. You only have to look at Epaulette last year, and look what he's done since.''
Jones was confident Chasing Charlie would be hard to beat on debut even though there were wraps on some of the other unraced gallopers.
''His breeding was nothing that was going to grab you. It was just his athleticism we liked,'' Jones said.
''From here we head to Sydney. He's an Inglis Classic horse so we go to the Inglis bonus race just prior to Christmas.
''That's been our target for him, and so far so good.''