Twentyeightblack can add to his lead in the Wagga Horse of the Year standings on Friday, but trainer Paul Kahlefeldt expects he'll face his toughest test yet to do so.
The five-year-old hasn't missed a top two finish since joining the Wagga trainer's stable six starts ago with only one of his efforts not at Riverina Paceway.
It includes a win on the track last Friday, but after drawing gate 12 in the Happy 60th Birthday Seve Mullins Pace (1740m) Kahlefeldt expects he'll have to be at his best.
"Twentyeightblack will find it hard off the second row particularly against The Texas Ranger, who looks a pretty class horse, but we know our horse can run a pretty smart time," Kahlefeldt said.
"It depends on how much work he has to do early to get up outside them.
"He's just improving every week but it is getting very keen in his runs, which is a bit of an issue, but they just can't stop him at the moment."
His win last week saw him shoot one point clear in the standings.
He's just above stablemate Seattle Trace and Major Roll but there are 11 horses within four points with nine meetings left before the end of the season.
Kahlefeldt, who is level with Bruce Harpley in the Wagga Trainer of the Year standings, rated Seattle Trace the best of his eight chances.
"Her form isn't good but she has been racing really strong fields," Kahlefeldt said.
"If everything goes right she should lead and will be hard to catch."
Soho Beijing has also drawn barrier one.