The Chris Waller stable believe exciting English import Aleas is marginally the pick of their two-pronged attack in Friday's $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
The champion Sydney trainer is back for another tilt at the feature as he looks to win the Wagga Gold Cup for a fourth time.
This year he has his pinned his hopes in two imports, the lightly-raced Aleas and last-start Randwick winner Irish Sequel.
The pair left Rosehill on Thursday morning set for Chris Heywood's Wagga stable and the Waller yard are looking forward to again taking part in another Gold Cup carnival.
"It seems to be, out of all the country cups, without trying to be too rude about any of the others, but it's the one where all the staff and the stables seem to put their hands up to go to," Waller's racing manager Charlie Duckworth said.
"The race club must turn it on and make it pretty exciting for everyone. We're just more than happy to be apart of it and if we can take out another one, we'll be more than happy."
Irish Sequel chased down Aleas to win narrowly over 1800m on a heavy 10 at Randwick last start.
Duckworth believes a return to a dry track at Wagga is the query for Irish Sequel, who is yet to win from six starts on a good surface.
"I think based on Irish Sequel's form being slightly worse on a dry track than it is a heavy track. I think six goes just for a third that's obviously got to be some bit of a concern for us," he said.
"I mean, his work's always solid and it's hard to knock a last-start winner, having said that, his run at Doomben when he ran second was a soft five, when he won at Eagle Farm was a soft five and as we know Eagle Farm's soft five is probably a good four anyway.
"Put it this way, we don't think it's going to be an issue but it does put some sort of doubts in your mind.
"He's got plenty of heart and digs pretty deep when it counts so he'll be in with a massive shout I'd imagine."
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Among the ownership of Irish Sequel is Hawthorn stars Jack Gunston, James Sicily, Liam Shiels, along with ex-teammates Jarryd Roughead and Jon Ceglar.
Aleas, on the other hand, is owned in England and was sent to Waller on the recommendation of his trainer in the UK.
The stable have a big opinion of the lightly-raced four-year-old.
"He's an interesting one. He was sent over by my old boss in England, he recommended to the owner that he send him down here to us," Duckworth said.
"Obviously both runs in Australia have been really good, the distance is going to be no problem whatsoever, he stays the journey well so it will be interesting to see him back on a dryer surface.
"I think he's likely to improve, he's probably got a bit of a better turn of foot. We probably rode him a little bit too far forward the other day. I think if you swap the runs between our two, you probably swap the result. He's had to make his run a bit early with James on.
"Providing he gets a little bit of cover through the run, I think he's going to be right there. I guess the only concern is carrying 54 and you're slightly out of grade, you're probably entitled to carry a little bit less than down on 54 but having said that there's a few that are further disadvantaged than us."
Chad Schofield will ride Aleas, while Grant Buckley takes over on Irish Sequel.
Duckworth admitted that the $2 million Big Dance was in the back of Waller's mind when choosing to send both horses to Wagga.
"Yeah of course it entered into calculations," he said.
"We've just got to really worry about tomorrow and then worry about the rest.
"They've both drawn soft, racing well, an extra 200 is probably in the alley and for the owners it's more or less just exciting to see them racing on a dry track. Everyone's sort of sick of it up here."
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