All eyes will be on some of the contenders for the Country Championships when several potential starters line-up in the Benchmark 65 (1200m) at Wagga on Friday.
Southern District trainers are using the race as an important lead-up to the $150,000 Country Championships qualifier at Wagga on March 4.
One of those is Peter Morgan who has Bulala heading in the right direction after a strong first-up win at Albury six weeks ago.
Unbeaten in three first-up attempts, Bulala will be ridden by leading country jockey Mathew Cahill from barrier one.
“He has a few factors in his favour in that way. It’s a tough enough race and The Championships heat will be even tougher but the plan is to make that his start after Friday providing he keeps going the right way,” Morgan said.
Bulala won over 900 metres fresh and second-up he has been placed once from two starts.
Morgan said the conditions of The Championships meant timing Bulala’s preparation so he wasn’t over qualified.
Bulala is raced by Albury Racing Club committeeman Geoff Miller who has owned other horses with Morgan including Bonanza and Bayard.
“He would have had close to 50 horses with me and also had a share in My Day who won a fair few races,” Morgan said.
“Bulala was a yearling when I got him and he has been given plenty of time so hopefully it pays off down the track.”
Last year, Kingia represented Morgan in the Southern Districts heat and he is looking forward to having Bulala line-up in the big one.
“Luck in running will come into it and hopefully he can run a good race then go into the heat,” he added.
After an eye catching last start second, Chastity Strikes looks ready to pounce again late as she also heads towards The Championships.
Trainer Scott Spackman hopes Chastity Strikes gets her opportunity late to boost her rating for the race.
“She always gets back so I just hope she can do what she did last start and finish over the top of them,” he said.
The trainers also has O’ So Hazy and Didn’t Even Kiss Me in contention for the Wagga qualifier.
Wagga trainer Chris Heywood has some five horses going for The Championships with Class Clown and Fermanagh Lad to run in the same race on Friday.
“The distance is a bit short for Class Clown and Fermanagh Lad has been a bit disappointing at times, but he has had a few issues and I think he is back on track so hopefully he can run an improved race,” he suggested.
Canberra visitor Bank On Henry will be having his first start for 12 months after racing in last year’s Bega Cup.