TOP Sydney trainer John O'Shea is confident Southern Lad will go one better in this year's $200,000 Wagga Town Plate (1200m).
Southern Lad ran second to Irish Songs in last year's Town Plate and will be back again on Thursday in a bid to go one better.
Southern Lad came into last year's Town Plate on the back of a freshen up and it will again be the case on Thursday.
He had two trials last month in preparation after his last-start second behind Masked Crusader in the group three Southern Cross Stakes at Randwick.
"It's good form," O'Shea said.
Asked if Southern Lad was a better horse than 12 months ago, O'Shea replied with a simple 'yes'.
The 29-time group-one winning trainer believes he has the horse to beat.
"He'll be very hard to beat. He'll be very, very, very hard to beat," he said.
"He's going particularly well. I think the young boy that rides him actually rides him very well, which helps."
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Regan Bayliss has the ride on Southern Lad, who has drawn barrier 16, but should come in a couple after scratchings.
The six-year-old has opened up the $5.00 equal favourite for the Town Plate with TAB.
Southern Lad was also nominated for the sprint at Gosford on Saturday but O'Shea was keen to send him to Wagga.
"Because it's $200,000," he said.
"(Gosford's) not as good as Wagga.
"We've got a lot of people who are annual Wagga carnival attendees so it's important that they have runners and participation."
Alex Maher, the daughter of Wodonga trainer Peter Maher, will be in charge of the trip to Wagga with Southern Lad.
"The young lady who is my foreman, it's her home town. I like for her to have a little day out."
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