The Tony Cruz-trained Circuit King has the barrier draw from hell in the Victoria Racing Club Trophy (1,000m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night but he is the form horse and the one to beat.
The difficulty of the feature at this Valley meeting is that there are so many in the race with little to recommend them on form but they have all the barrier draws.
Perfect Choice, Diego Kosta were well in the market and failed dreadfully at their latest runs and likely leader Ocean Roar, a course specialist with nine wins there, has been racing below his best, but all have inside draws that will see them find support on the idiosyncratic C+3 rail.
Meanwhile, you have the very consistent Circuit King (Neil Callan) in the outside barrier but coming off an easy Class Four win and a terrific second in this grade, both over the Valley 1,000m but from inside draws.
The hope of the side for his supporters is that Circuit King isn’t the only fancied horse out in the boondocks at the starting gates, and he might look for some help from his major rival.
Ocean Roar appears the leader from gate one but who comes next is up for grabs, and it looks a situation where Joao Moreira on the obvious danger Diamond Master (barrier 10) might take the gelding back to his past by using his natural high speed.
Diamond Master can get a bit keen so he is usually tucked in behind to help him relax, but here’s a piece of relevant trivia – Wednesday night’s meeting is the anniversary (all right, it was May 4 last year) of Moreira’s only other ride on the horse when he bounced him to the lead from gate 11 and was never headed in a similar race.
Callan’s hope may be to get Circuit King mobilised early, as he usually does, then try to follow Diamond Master across as he makes a path over from the outside.
There are no guarantees, but if Circuit King can find the right trail he can still defy his draw and, if you’re looking for a confidence builder, two of the six 1,000m races this season on the C+3 have been won by gates 11 and 12, including the latest by Travel Comforts.