THE Gold Ace is expected to lead after drawing gate one in the group 1 $750,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, 2710m, on Saturday night.
The Australian-based New Zealander is racing at the peak of his powers.
As a noted leader, it is difficult to imagine reinsman Luke McCarthy wanted to hand up the front on The Gold Ace.
Caribbean Blaster has drawn barrier two, for Andy Gath, with Smoken Up outside his Lance Justice-trained stablemate Hugo Play in gate four.
NZ visitors Christen Me had no luck with seven on the outside of the front row.
Ballarat’s big hope Restrepo will come out of 10 on the second row.
As a sit and sprint horse, this should suit the Emma Stewart-trained and Gavin Lang-driven entire.
Stewart also has emergency Metro Mike in the capacity field of 13.
Bendigo Cup winner Im Corzin Terror was a surprise withdrawal after nominations.
The field was declared and barrier draw carried out at a breakfast, attended by about 250 people, at Bray Raceway this morning.
CUP FIELD (in barrier order):
1-The Gold Ace (Luke McCarthy)
2-Caribbean Blaster (Kate Gath)
4-Smoken Up (Lance Justice)
6-Uncle Wingnut (Michael Bellman)
7-Christen Me (Dexter Dunn)
8-Abettorpunt (Caleb Lewis)
9-Field Officer (Grant Dixon)
10-Restrepo (Gavin Lang)
11-Wartime Sweetheart (David Aiken)
12-Pass Them By (Anthony Butt)
13-Metro Mike (Mark Hayes) emerg