Geoff Small will play the roles of both the hunter and the hunted at Ashburton today.

Northern trainer Small has only three runners at the $1.5 million Jewels meeting - Lauraella, All Tiger and Tintin In America - but all are winning chances.

And all of them provide Small with what he relishes, a test of his skills against his arch-rival, Mark Purdon.

In some cases Small will provide the horse everybody is gunning for: Lauraella is a hot favourite up against three Purdon-trained fillies in the $200,000 3-year-old fillies' pace.

Then Small will turn hunter as he tries to find a way for All Tiger to down Purdon's champion Auckland Reactor in the 4-year-old male division.

And the pair will round out the day with Tintin in America (Small) versus Purdon's pair of Highview Tommy and Sleepy Tripp in the last race, although all three will have to overcome Stunin Cullen.

"This is how it should be at the end of the season," says Small.

"The best trainers, drivers and horses. They don't give these big races away and these are the days you work hard for."

Lauraella is Small's best winning chance today and he almost reluctantly admits the classy filly may be better than when she won a group one double at Addington earlier this month.

"Leading into that meeting she had a setback so the racing should have improved her," said Small.

Lauraella faces a second-line draw but follows out a fast beginner so should be handy on the outer without having to work much.

Her key rival from earlier in the season, Joyfuljoy, appears to be over the top but her stablemate Imagine Me now looms as the danger as she could trail and use the passing lane.

That makes her the biggest, and possibly only, threat to Lauraella.

All Tiger is the only pacer to have beaten Auckland Reactor in New Zealand but did it courtesy of a 50m start when the champ galloped away at Cambridge in January.

With Auckland Reactor drawn to lead in a race without any obvious pressure, it will take something special for All Tiger to beat him again.

"I am very happy with my horse and I think the gap between him and Auckland Reactor is not as big as it would have been in the summer.

"But we have to hope the long season has got to him otherwise we might struggle to beat him."

Tintin In America has provided Small with the greatest examination of his training skills this season, battling mystery problems over the summer but good enough to place at group one level before and after that.

He has drawn well in the final race and if he can sit just off the pace has the raw speed to win.

"It has been a tough season but he is working well and I think I have him close enough to his peak to win."

Purdon holds the upper hand in that clash, with Highview Tommy back to his best and Sleepy Tripp possibly the best 3-year-old in the country.

$1.5 MILLION DAY
* 107 of the best young horses in the country contest today's Harness Jewels at Ashburton.
* Top trainers Mark Purdon and Geoff Small clash in three key group one races.
* Auckland Reactor, Lauraella, Sleepy Tripp and All Tiger are among their stars.