TOP Newcastle trainer Paul Perry is confident star stayer Newport can show his Melbourne Cup preparation is on track in today's Moonee Valley Cup.
The 2500-metre group 2 event will be Newport's last chance to prove he is worthy of a Melbourne Cup start.
"The horse is fine, going real well," Perry said. "This is not the race I was hoping he would run in, but the way the horse looks, he is ready to run a big race."
Perry was hoping to get Newport into the Caulfield Cup, but he missed out after being named the second reserve.
Newport, which won his latest start at the Sydney carnival in the group 1 Metropolitan, has pleased Perry in Melbourne.
"He handles this way of going and has done everything I have asked of him," Perry said.
"Right now I would say he is borderline about getting into the Melbourne Cup.
"He would have to do something on Saturday to be worthy of even worrying about paying the next declaration for the Melbourne Cup."
There may be one way a Moonee Valley Cup win can assure Newport of a Melbourne Cup run.
The horse which wins the Australian Stayers Championship is exempt from ballot.
This is a series of 32 races for horses competing over 2300m or longer and are worth $100,0000 or more.
Presently, No Wine No Song heads the list but he has been retired.
So has the second-placed horse, Cats Fun, on 180 points.
A win today would catapult Newport up another nine points and be equal with No Wine No Song.