Leading provincial trainer Kim Waugh doesn’t have a runner in the Gosford Gold Cup but will saddle up five strong chances in other races on Friday.
Hetty Heights looks well suited in the $150,000 Group 3 Gosford RSL Belle of the Turf Stakes (1600m).
She had been running in shorter races but her performance last start in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury leaves no doubt she can handle the extra distance.
She flew home from second last to fifth, making up the more ground than any of her rivals.
The Belle of the Turf Stakes will be her first time in blinkers and Waugh hopes they will make a difference.
“They should keep her focused, it's what she needs,” Waugh said.
“She has drawn a tricky barrier but she has been training well and with a little luck she should have a nice race.”
The result at Gosford on Friday will determine whether Hetty Heights can defend her Provincial Championships title. She took out the $100,000 Wyong heat by a length and a half last year and finished 6th in the grand final, but one more win would render her ineligible to compete again.
Waugh has two equally fancied runners in the $125,000 Listed De Bortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) which is set to be a rematch of the thrilling Canterbury Classic.
Four of the top six finishers in the New Year’s Eve race will meet again at Gosford.
Ball Of Muscle drops down half a kilogram to 59kg, while His Majesty, Wouldn’t It Be Nice and Grunderzeit all go up one to 54kgs.
“His Majesty did a lot of hard work early in the Canterbury Classic and it cost him,” Waugh said. “He ran a great race and I’m really happy with him at the moment. He’ll need a bit of luck jumping from a wide barrier but he will be there at the finish.”
Supreme Effort is fresh from a winning trial at Wyong on 28 December and put in an impressive run for 6th in the Listed Starlight Stakes six weeks ago.
“He’s got a bit of a tricky barrier too but we’ll be hoping he jumps well and takes up a midfield position,” Waugh said.
“There are some very smart horses in the race especially Ball Of Muscle.”
Waugh also has hopes in two of the earlier races on Gosford Gold Cup day.
Oxford Magic could get his first win on the board in the Tooheys Maiden Plate (1000m).
He has had two strong trials since resuming from a 23 week spell, one of which he finished a close second to Wouldn’t It Be Nice.
Tickling will be chasing her first win since July last year when she enjoyed a one-and-a-half length victory over Kokopu in a 1100m maiden at Hawkesbury.
She will fly the Kim Waugh Racing flag in the Guardian Safety Solutions Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m).
Tim Clark will be aboard for all except Supreme Effort which will be ridden by Jay Ford.