WAGGA trainer Tim Donnelly will be aiming for his second Highway victory in as many months when exciting three-year-old Participator steps out at Rosehill on Saturday.
Donnelly broke through for his first Highway victory last month when Kitzbuhel scored an all-the-way victory at Rosehill.
Donnelly will return to the scene of the crime on Saturday with unbeaten gelding Participator, who will contest the $100,000 TAB Highway Class Two Handicap (1200m).
The boom on Participator is big after he returned from a spell with an impressive four and a half length romp at Wagga last month.
It took his record to two from two after winning on debut at this year's Wagga Gold Cup carnival.
Already Participator is a well-backed favourite for Saturday and Donnelly has no doubt he is good enough to deliver him another Highway.
"For sure," Donnelly said.
"It would be good to win another. I hadn't won one before (Kitzbuhel). I'd been around the mark, just hadn't won one.
"The unknown is the track conditions, how it's going to be but I couldn't be happier with him. I think he's come on since the other day."
Participator has drawn ideally in barrier five, something that gives Donnelly confidence.
"I wanted between three and six so that's perfect," he said.
"In those big fields, a barrier is important. It makes up for when I drew 21 with Kitzbuhel the other day (in the Country Classic)."
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Donnelly has also stuck with in-form country jockey Mathew Cahill to retain the ride, opting for the experienced rider over a city counterpart.
"He's a city-class jockey that rides in the country. He's as good as anyone and he knows the horse," Donnelly said.
"Looking down the track to a country championships, it's run on a Saturday at Wagga so none of them are going to be coming down to ride him so I'm happy to stick with him."
The only two queries for Donnelly on Saturday are the track, rated a soft seven on Thursday, and Participator's experience, or lack thereof.
"The little doubt is his inexperience. He's only had the two starts," he said.
"Sometimes you get a horse who is a little bit older, had a few trials, 10 starts, a couple of wins and a few placings so they've just got that bit of experience. But he's got the alley that will help him overcome that.
"I'm not really concerned about anything too much. I haven't really gone into the opposition a lot. The class two is always good and this is the same race that Another One ran in it last year, started a similar price, and Art Cadeux ran second in."
While exactly what the track rating will be on Saturday is impossible to know, it looks certain to be rain-affected.
Donnelly does not know how Participator will handle it but has a couple of things in his favour.
"He's trialed on a soft. We don't really gallop when it's really heavy," he said.
"He's out of a More Than Ready mare, who are noted wet trackers, and she only did have the five starts but she ran a place in a listed race on a heavy 11 in New Zealand. It was an ordinary race but she could have run last in it, but she didn't, she ran a place.
"He'll handle it until he doesn't."
Donnelly also has two horses in at Wagga on Saturday, Sham and Revellers. He said both are unlikely to start if the track is in the heavy range.
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