Aztec State pressed his claims for a trip to Queensland with a gritty win at Caulfield on Saturday.

The Lindsay Park-trained son of Pierro passed his first test at 2000 metres in style, outlasting a pugnacious Steel Run to win the $150,000 Tobin Brothers Celebrating Lives Handicap.

Co-trainer Ben Hayes hinted that it might now be hard to resist a trip to Brisbane for the $1 million Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 1.

"He was definitely auditioning today and I think he passed," Hayes, who trains in partnership with brothers Will and JD, said.

"He probably ran 2400 metres today, going so wide.

"He's a progressive horse and I think 2400 should be no problems."

The Caulfield win was Aztec State's first since debut success over classy filly Roll On High in a 1500m maiden at Bendigo last spring and he did not finished further back than fourth in four runs in between.

Jockey Luke Currie settled Aztec State in third-last position at Caulfield, but made a wide run from the 700m and after holding his ground rounding the home turn, the gelding finished stoutly in the home straight.

At the line the $2.60 favourite had a head to spare over Steel Run ($5.50) with Zambezi Khan ($10) 1-3/4 lengths away third.

Currie said he was forced to go early on Aztec State so he wasn't spotting the lead division much ground when they quickened off what was a moderate tempo in the middle stages and that he would improve with the outing over 2000m.

"He was tough because he went around Mick Kent's horse (Steel Run), who came with him, and he kept poking his head out, so he'll get better for that run," Currie said.