Trainer Dan Bowen is confident Chiaki can boost his excellent record on his home track when he lines up at Lismore on Tuesday.
Already a three-time winner from six starts at Lismore, Chiaki can add to that tally when he tackles the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1300m).
Bowen will also saddle up stablemate Water Boy in the same race.
Chiaki is coming off a last-start failure over 1000m in a Benchmark 66 at Ballina on October 6, but is far better suited stepping up to the 1300m of Tuesday’s race.
“He drew wide and got back over the 1000m the other day at Ballina. But back up to the 1300m and from that good draw (gate three) he should be very hard to beat on his home track on Tuesday,” said Bowen.
“His third to Ashman here (at Lismore) two runs back over the 1300m is very good form. The winner is pretty smart and won at Doomben at his next start."
All of Chiaki’s three Lismore wins have been on soft or heavy tracks, but the likelihood of a good surface (currently Good 4) on Tuesday doesn’t concern Bowen.
“Ideally, he’d be better suited with a softer track, but his form on good tracks over the 1300m and 1400m is good enough to win on Tuesday.”
Although Bowen rates Chiaki the pick of his two runners in this race, he hasn’t discounted the chances of Water Boy whose form is better than it appears on paper.
Also a three-time Lismore winner, Water Boy’s recent form looks below-par but Bowen said he has had some excuses.
“His third at Casino three starts back (on August 10) was very good, and then he didn’t have much luck at Lismore (August 26),” he said.
“Last time out at Lismore (September 19) he drew very wide and if it hadn’t been Cup Day, I probably wouldn’t have run him. So I blame myself for running him as he was never on the track.
“He’s had a good freshen up. He’s a horse who needs certain things to go his way, but he’s more than capable of winning on Tuesday if he produces his best.
"But I’d have to say I prefer Chiaki of the two.”
One of the hardest to beat in that race will be the Matt Dunn-trained Royal Factor who was scratched from Grafton on Monday.
Bowen thinks his best other chance at Tuesday’s seven-race meeting is the well-bred ex-Victorian galloper The Sledgehammer, who runs in the Class 1 & Maiden Plate (2100m).
A five-year-old son of So You Think from the Danehill mare Freja, The Sledgehammer was previously trained in Melbourne by Robert Hickmott and then John Sadler.
He was placed in four of his 10 starts in Victoria before finding his way to Bowen’s stable last year.
“He had to have a knee operation and had about 15 months off before he ran first-up for me at the Gold Coast last month (September 7),” said Bowen.
“He ran a good race when third over 1200m that day, then at his next start at Lismore (September 19) he got caught behind a slow one and was dragged back in the field.
"And at his most recent run at Ballina (October 6) he went back from wide draw and was hitting the line very strongly.
“He’s definitely looking for this longer trip. There was a 1700m he could have run in at Grafton on Monday, but I thought this 2100m Class 1 & Maiden was the better option for him and he can certainly get into the finish.”