If the extra distance of tonight's $100,000 Messenger is the only major question hanging over the head of hot favourite Field Marshal, then trainer Tim Butt is a happy man.

Because, he says, the extra lap of Alexandra Park than what his stable star covered on the way to a brilliant win in the Taylor Mile last Friday shouldn't put punters off.

Field Marshal defied the usual Taylor Mile racing pattern by coming from third last at the 1200m mark to loop the field four wide and bolt in, suggesting he has a decent class edge on most he meets tonight.

He has been on an impressive improvement curve this season, with a throat operation last year enabling him to show his rare true potential.


But his only two defeats this season have both been at 2600m mobile, when he was outstayed in consecutive starts at Omakau and Addington in January, at least raising the question of his stamina rating.

Butt says he doesn't expect that to undo Field Marshal tonight.

"That was a lot earlier in his campaign and while he is a fast horse, he is also a very relaxed horses so I don't think distance will bother him," said Butt.

"I know some people might worry because of his past throat problem but it was one of those ones where the operation to fix it either works or it doesn't, and in his case it has."

Field Marshal has the gate speed to go forward and try to dominate a race that seems to lack many natural attackers but regardless of where he ends up, he is clearly the horse to beat.

My Kiwi Mate should be better over the longer distance and wasn't suited by having to sit parked last Friday so he looks the each way value.

Hug The Wind is drawn to be close to the action and warrants respect as does Bettor Spirits in a field where those who don't have to burn too hard early should profit.

Earlier in the night it is impossible to go past Spanish Armada in the $150,000 Fillies Sires' Stakes.

"She put a line in the sand last week to say she is the best of this crop and I think the draw suits her," says co-trainer Mark Purdon. Michael Guerin