Watch the replays of Harlech's last two starts and you might be worried by his ace draw in Saturday's $225,000 Levin Classic at Trentham.

Go one start further back and you should feel a little more comfortable putting your hard earned on the favourite for the group one 3-year-old mile.

Harlech is the $2.50 favourite up against his two-time conqueror Travelling Light and Riodini in the small but select field and while barrier one usually sounds good, it might come with a dash of nerves for punters.

Harlech got well back before flying home in both the Uncle Remus Stakes at Ellerslie last start and more impressively behind Catalyst in the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in November.


That could raise the concern he gets back on the inside in the small field on Saturday and with rival riders unlikely to do him any favours in a tactical battle the long-strider could be waiting on some luck.

But delve a little further back into his formline and he actually drew a similar barrier two in the Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa three starts ago and took full advantage,

On that occasion while Harlech wasn't fast out he was still able to stay handy on the inner and when the field spread at the top of the straight he was able to sprint quickly over the 1400m, suggesting at the slower 1600m tempo he should be able to take up a position, maybe even in the trail.

If he could land there for Mick Dee, who is coming back from Melbourne especially to ride him, then it will take a very good horse to beat Harlech.

"The main reason he keeps getting so far back is because he has had bad draws and we haven't had much option," says co-trainer Pam Gerard.

"He can be a bit tardy out of the gates but he does accelerate quickly after that and I'd love to think if a horse like Callsign Mav (drawn two) wants to lead and roll along that we could sit a lot handier this time."

Gerard says Harlech has come through his Boxing Day run well, a race programmed to set him up for Saturday's group one, so important to any future stallion career.

"The most important thing is he came back from Christchurch after the Guineas well and has thrived," she explains.


"That has enabled us to target races like this and Ellerslie was a good stepping stone."

If Callsign Mav or Our Creed, who led at a good clip in the Auckland Guineas last start, can set up a good tempo on Saturday that should suit Harlech and potentially create more gaps whereas muddling tempo races are the ones most likely to see traffic jams, even in small fields.

Trainer Nigel Tiley waited until yesterday morning to confirm Riodini's trip to Trentham but is happy with how he has come through his defeat in the Auckland Guineas last week.

Michael Coleman will ride Riodini with Sam Collett choosing to get back on Travelling Light, with the filly probably in for a busier next few months whereas Riodini might run out of suitable races in his distance range soon, although he could take on the older horses the BCD Sprint at Te Rapa if he wins on Saturday.

Tiley indicated yesterday he would be keen to see Riodini ridden with cover from barrier seven on Saturday while the race doesn't lack other powerful swoopers in Mascarpone and Holy Mongolemperor.

Meanwhile, Gerard is also happy with Waikato Cup runner-up Masetto as he heads to the Trentham Stakes on Saturday.

"I really like this horse, even though we might not see the best of him until next year," she offers.

"He drops back to 2100m (from 2400m last start) this week but he worked really well with Harlech the other day and he has to be a good chance."

Levin Classic (G1)

Saturday 4.16pm, Stakes: $225,000

Class: 3YO SW, Distance:1600m

Harlech 12122 (1) Mick Dee (56.5) $2.50 $1.20

Riodini X1112 (7) Michael Coleman (56.5) $4.00 $1.35

Callsign Mav 61272 (2) Craig Grylls (56.5) $26.00 $3.30

Mascarpone 42111 (5) Ryan Elliot (56.5) $8.00 $1.85

Our Creed 02216 (6) Cameron Lammas (56.5) $81.00 $5.50

Holy Mongolemperor 25X25 (4) Opie Bosson (56.5) $15.00 $2.30

Travelling Light 11131 (3) Samantha Collett (54.5) $2.80 $1.25