WAGGA trainer Trevor Sutherland is confident his mare Ambergris can overcome a stuttering preparation to win a second consecutive Cobran 2013 Carrathool Cup Benchmark 61 Handicap (1400m) tomorrow.
The seven-year-old has not placed in any of her last four starts and hasn't raced since before Christmas, but remains the hot favourite to win the $15,000 cup. Ambergris took the cup at top weight last year and Sutherland believes she can do it again.
"We've got her on a different pattern but we're happy with where she's at," he said.
"She was just a bit off recently there were a couple of foot problems, but we've freshened her up. She's still got plenty of miles in her legs."
If not Ambergris, Sutherland said he might have another winner in six-year-old Mrs Menzies, who ran first in her last outing, a benchmark 55 over 1200m in Cowra on January 13. "She's in good form and is racing well. She's a bit of a lightweight compared to Ambergris," he said. "Both of them will handle the track and conditions well one's been there before and I know the other will be OK.
"The money's worth going for and I just think Racing NSW have got to be careful they don't lose these sort of races. They're wonderful days out for the community."
The only Griffith representation tomorrow will be the Russell Hogan-trained Don't Do It Darren in the Carrathool Family Hotel Maiden Plate (1000m).
"I'm hoping this horse will improve. He won't be anything startling. He'll run around with the field," he said. "I've put him in to help everyone out. I try to take my horses there as often as I can.
"I love to go and help the locals out as much as I can, it's a big day out there and they've had a terrible time with the weather recently."
Hogan's other nomination, Nurney Boy, will not start due to a blistered jaw.
He said there would be more local horses at Carrathool if trainers had realised the nomination cut-off date was on the Australia Day public holiday on Monday.
"Gino D'Altorio would have had five in there so that was disappointing," Hogan said.
"But it was written in the book so it's our own fault.
"It's most unusual, they don't usually take nominations on public holidays and I'm sure a few other blokes were caught out as well, but life goes on."