Jamie Richards is still scratching his head about the last-start flop of sprinter Splurge.
The Te Akau Racing co-trainer, who trains in partnership with Stephen Autridge, admits confidence levels have been dented heading into Saturday's Gr.2 Moreton Cup (1200m) at Doomben.
Splurge won seven of his first 11 races in New Zealand and started the $3.60 favourite at his Australian debut in the Gr.3 BRC Sprint (1350m) on a heavy Doomben track on May 20.
But he was extremely disappointing, finishing ninth and beaten 11 lengths by Jungle Edge (Dubawi), and a post-race vet inspection did not reveal any problems.
Sportsbet have rated Splurge a $7.50 chance for Saturday's Moreton Cup but Richards is hopeful rather than confident about his winning chances.
"I am still scratching my head about what happened in his last run, he did get a couple of bumps at the 800m mark so the only thing I can think of is maybe he stopped trying after that," Richards said.
"But there were really no excuses, the scope found nothing amiss.
"His work has been good this week and I would like to see him jump cleanly this time and put him in the race and get his mind on the job.
"But I am hopeful rather than confident."