Port Macquarie trainer Neil Godbolt hopes Hippy Hi Ho can go one better than last year in the $30,000 Bakewell Haulage Krambach Cup (1614m) at Taree on Friday but admits he is running out of patience with the five-year-old.
Hippy Hi Ho finished second to Cash Spinner in last year's Krambach Cup after winning his two previous starts at Port Macquarie. He returns for another crack at the long-standing event but Godbolt admits he is hopeful rather than confident.
"I've been a bit disappointed in him in his last two preparations actually," said Godbolt. "He looked a horse of some promise earlier on but just hasn't kicked on."
Hippy Hi Ho has gone winless in five runs this preparation - his best results a third over 1206m at Port Macquarie three runs back on September 24 and a last-start fourth to Wewonya over 1300m on a soft6 at Coffs Harbour on October 13.
"He just hasn't been hitting the line in his races," said Godbolt. "His last two runs have been in soft ground and he needs it firmer so he will appreciate getting back on a good surface on Friday.
"The horse is well enough, he's just not producing on race days. If he found his best form he'd be very hard to beat in Friday's race in what looks a pretty even field, but he'd want to start showing me something very soon."
Sydney jockey Josh Adams takes over on Hippy Hi Ho on Friday.
The 12-horse field for the Krambach Cup includes the Paul Perry-trained Don Pellegrino, who looks one of the hardest to beat, the Bob Milligan-trained Another Valley, Rod Northam's Husswick, the Matt Robinson-trained pair Chalcedony (fourth in last year's race) and Mosgiel Ruby, and the Alan Scorse-trained Nadacheva, to be partnered by Robert Thompson.
Godbolt will have two runners -Dixie Lad and Forever Alone - in Friday's other feature, the $20,000 Banarra Brahman Krambach Sprint (1257m).
"They both should race well," said Godbolt. "Dixie Lad has been racing pretty well and always puts in and the other one (Forever Alone) is ready to do something at his third run back."
Grafton galloper Cash Spinner is chasing a 'Krambach double' in the Sprint after taking out last year's Cup.
The John Shelton-trained mare has an outstanding record at Taree, winning three of her four starts there.
The rail for Friday's eight-race program will be out 3m the entire circuit and the track on Thursday was rated a good4.