Wagga trainer Trevor Sutherland is looking forward to racing back on a good track at Narrandera on Sunday where he looks to hold a strong hand in several races on the nine-event program.
Sutherland expects to have 10 runners at Sunday's meeting - Miss Forbidden (race one) and Currawong (race two) in the two divisions of the Maiden Plate (1000m), Redfu (race three) and Zarizacrat and The Truck (race four) in the two divisions of the Maiden Hcp (1400m), Benno's Boy and Hangin' With Willy in the Benchmark 55 Hcp (1200m), Willy White Socks in the Benchmark 60 Hcp (1400m), Gentleman Max in the SDRA Winter Series Hcp (1600m), and Yawkey Way in the Class 2 Hcp (1000m).
"They've done a great job splitting the two Maidens, it's terrific for all the owners. It looks a terrific meeting, we'll be racing back on a good track and I expect a few of mine to race very well," Sutherland said.
Sutherland is confident he can start the day off on a winning note with Miss Forbidden in the opening race.
Miss Forbidden made her debut with an encouraging second at Gundagai on July 1 before failing second-up in heavy ground when a five-length sixth to Readabeel at Wagga on July 9.
"We look to have several good chances on Sunday, but I think she's probably the pick of all of them," Sutherland said. "She wasn't happy in the heavy ground last time. She's a filly on the up and is going to be very hard to beat back on the good track on Sunday." Several of Sutherland's team - like Gentleman Max, Willy White Socks and Benno's Boy - have been racing very well on heavy tracks of late but the trainer doesn't see the return to a firmer surface on Sunday as being detrimental to their chances.
Gentleman Max won back-to-back races at Corowa and Wagga on heavy tracks earlier this month before his last-start fourth in the same conditions at Wagga last Tuesday.
Willy White Socks is coming off back-to-back Wagga wins in heavy conditions on July 9 and July 18 and Benno's Boy has finished runner-up at his two previous starts at Wagga (July 9 and July 18) also on heavy ground.
"Gentleman Max has been going really well on wet tracks, but a firmer surface won't be an issue and I wouldn't swap him for any other runner in that race on Sunday," Sutherland said.
"It'll be a good surface, but there'll still be some cut in the track which is sufficient for him. His run at Wagga the other day when fourth was a good effort under the circumstances - they just crawled up front and they couldn't make ground from the back. He's in terrific order and the step up to the 'mile' on Sunday is perfect.
"Willy White Socks has also been racing well on the heavy tracks, but I really think he'll be even more effective on top of the ground. He had a fall about six months ago and has just started to get his confidence back.
"Benno's Boy will also appreciate a firmer track this time and he is two from two at this track and distance. Hangin' With Willy has had a month off since his last run and should also race well."
Sutherland collected maximum points in the Southern District Racing Association's Winter Series when Gentleman Max won the opening race of this year's series at Corowa on July 4. The Winter Series, which runs through July and August, was introduced last year to provide more opportunities for the region's better-performed horses. The next Winter Series race will be at Wagga's meeting on August 1, then moves to Gundagai on August 6.