Tony Pike will be chasing what would be a highly satisfying Queensland victory on Wednesday with the promising two-year-old Rudyard.
The Cambridge trainer's youngster has fared well in the barrier draw and will jump from gate five on the synthetic track at the Sunshine Coast with Leith Innes to take the reins.
The race in their sights is the Sacred Elixir QTIS Handicap (1400m), so named after the Pike-trained son of Pour Moi who won the Gr.1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) during the 2016 Brisbane winter carnival.
"He was a very, very good horse so it would be quite cool if we could win the race," Pike said.
On return visits to Australia, Sacred Elixir was also successful in the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m), the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and finished runner-up in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m).
A son of Charm Spirit and the two-time Group Two winner Lady Kipling, Rudyard was a debut winner at Rotorua in March and then finished runner-up at Te Rapa before departing for Brisbane.
"He went over there a reasonably fit horse and has settled in well and has been working well," Pike said.
"The biggest concern is whether he is going to operate as well on the polytrack as he has on the grass.
"The 1400m is probably perfect for him, given his style of racing, and if he does handle the track okay he should be a genuine chance."
Pike will also be represented on the Sunshine Coast card by the Zacinto four-year-old Bentayga in The Barn Family Restaurant Handicap (1600m).
He will be making a fresh start having won over 2100m at Awapuni in January and three weeks later ran fourth over the same trip at Trentham before a break.
"He will be better when he gets up in trip over there and it's been a similar problem in trying to find a track to kick off on," Pike said.
"It has been the worst carnival I have been to weather-wise, it's just made it near on impossible.
"I hope to get him through to some staying races later on, but we'll have to play it by ear. He has trialled up okay on the polytrack at Cambridge."
Successful in an open 1300m heat last month, Bentayga will have the benefit of the inside barrier and experienced jockey Jim Byrne.
"Obviously, he has drawn gate one and if he can get a nice, soft trip just in behind the speed somewhere he could run into the placings," Pike said.
He will also have representation at his home Cambridge meeting and considered The Statesman in the Carter Contracting Maiden (975m) to be his best hope.
He finished sixth on debut behind multiple winner and stakes performer Charmario at the first time of asking and will again be ridden by Michael McNab.
"He is a work in progress and he has got plenty of ability. He did a bit wrong at Te Rapa in a hot race and there are a few trial winners that go well," Pike said. "There will be a lot of speed on, which will help as he got a bit keen the other day.
"Again, the polytrack is a bit of an unknown, even though he has worked on it and if he can get a nice run he is good enough to win a race like this if he does everything right."
– NZ Racing Desk