Wagga trainer Chris Heywood hopes Landmine can book himself a place in the Country Championships heat with a strong first-up performance at Albury on Friday.
Landmine is one of a couple of horses right on the edge of a place in the field for the $150,000 Southern District qualifier.
Landmine resumes from a spell at Albury on Friday and will be hoping to run well enough to improve his benchmark rating.
The Daily Advertiser has put together a list of horses headed to the feature at Albury on March 23 and Landmine’s current rating of 61 has him equal 17th in the order of entry.
A final field of 16 will run in the heat.
Landmine and the Wayne Carroll-trained Fashion Tip both sit on 61 and will look to improve their ratings at Albury on Friday.
Heywood conceded Friday’s first-up run is an important one for Landmark.
“Fitness wise, he needs it but benchmark wise, if he can improve his benchmark on Friday then I would be pretty happy to say he would get a run easily enough,” Heywood said.
“At the moment he’s on the cusp and it’s going to depend on what other horses do as well.
“I’m really happy with him, couldn’t be happier. I’ll play it as it comes, if we get in, we get in, if we don’t, that’s the way it goes.”
Albury trainer Ron Stubbs has two horses headed to the heat in Yousay Bolt and Lost Command.
Jodie Bohr is also freshening up Landmark for a crack at the race. While Bohr does not believe 1400m is overly suitable, she said the race is too hard to resist.
Wagga trainer Peter Morgan hopes to run Bulala first-up in the heat, as does Scott Spackman with defending champion, O’ So Hazy.
Albury trainer Garry Worsnop has ruled out a Championships tilt with exciting stayer Nothin’ Like Harry.
The four-year-old is being aimed at the Albury and Wagga Cups and will have his next start at Randwick on Saturday week.
Worsnop is leaning towards the TAB Highway Handicap (1800m) over the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) for Nothin’ Like Harry.
He is also after a new jockey due to Blaike McDougall’s suspension. McDougall picked up suspensions at Wodonga and Sapphire Coast and will be out up until Championships heat day at Albury.
Country Championships order
O’ So Hazy (benchmark rating) 78, Takookacod 77, Bulala 75, Bennelong Dancer 73, Forever Newyork 71, News Girl 69*, Footmark 68, Lost Command 65, Waiting For A Mate 64, Yousay Bolt 64, Lady Mirtonton 64, Tully Toff 64, Frenze Hall 63, Arthur Porrit 62, Rock ‘N’ Roller 62, Dottledo 62, Landmine 61, Fashion Tip 61.
*Victorian rating. NSW rating not yet updated.