Maygrove, New Zealand's most difficult horse to place, faces a tough, but not impossible, task in tomorrow's $75,000 Hawke's Bay Gold Cup.
The 60kg topweight is a daunting task for a stayer.
"I'm very happy with the horse, but the weight is frightening. Let's hope he can carry it,' said co-trainer Murray Baker.
The Wellington Cup-winning Maygrove cannot handle right-handed tracks, which places him at a major disadvantage for a northern-trained horse.
It eliminates him from the possibility of attacking the Queensland winter carnival where there are a number of suitable races if they were raced in the opposite direction.
"I guess if he wins this there are options at Riccarton for him later," said Baker.
Maygrove's most desired footing is almost certainly dead to good, although he won in heavy 10 conditions at Awapuni last start. The footing at Hastings tomorrow should be just about perfect for him.
This is not the strongest Hawke's Bay Cup field we've seen and he should get his chance.
Stablemate Saint Emilion, on 58.5kg, is one of the strongest dangers. He won the Te Aroha Cup last start in a tough finish with Storming The Tower.
"He's done a good job this horse, winning eight races from just 17 starts in 16 months since he won his first race. He's come right through the grades," said Baker.
One runner who can be relied upon to improve on his last effort is Guarantor. He beat only a couple home in the 3200m Auckland Cup, but failed to see out the distance after overracing in the first 1600m.
He is much better suited to this middle distance and if he produces an effort like the one which saw him take the listed race at Matamata two starts back he will be right in this finish under Michael Coleman.
Chenille has a formline of 322113 this preparation. She tackled open company for the first time in the Te Aroha Cup last start and made things difficult for herself with a slow start. She came from a long way back with a strong finish to wind up third and is well placed here to be a real danger.
Things fell into place for Passing Shot last start and they could again in the $50,000 NZB Finance Sprint.
Passing Shot should get the run of the race behind the speedy Smashing and has the ability to take advantage of that.
Stablemates Procurement and Barbaric provide last week's Oaks hero Stephen Marsh with a powerful duo.
Procurement ended a run of decent races with victory at Ellerslie last start and Barbaric is better then his recent efforts. His best efforts are left-handed on tracks with just the fire out and he should be beautifully suited here.
Silver Eclipse suggests she is not far from a decent win and while Natuzzi is the class horse of the field he faces some task under 60kg from an extremely wide barrier.
• Much better: Guarantor, R6 Hastings: Couldn't see out the 3200m of the Auckland Cup. Better placed here.
• Improver: Spoke To Carlo, R6 Tauranga. Classy and sure to be improved for his first-up effort.
• Deserves one: Zorrali, R7 Tauranga. Has run into strong fields. The 1600m should suit.