Astute NSW trainer Matt Dunn will rely on Sydney's leading jockey Nash Rawillier to overcome a horror barrier draw for Cepheus in the inaugural running of the $2 million Group 2 - The Ingham at Randwick on Saturday.
The Ingham to be run over 1600 metres is named after one of the sport's most influential and successful racing families and was formerly run as the Villiers.
Cepheus has drawn barrier 19 in the 20-horse field and Dunn believes the in-form galloper will need a perfect ride from Rawiller to win the feature race on the 10-event program.
"I think we're going to have to get a pearler of a ride from Nash to win the Ingham," Dunn told ACM Racing.
"It's difficult to win any race from a wide barrier but it's a lot harder to win Group 2 races from outside gates. We've had The Ingham on our agenda for a few months.
"It looked the ideal race for Cepheus and then we got a wide draw. I was left shaking my head how it's going to play out."
Dunn, who has 80 horses in work at his Murwillumbah property opposite the Tweed River Jockey Club racecourse said he's lucky Rawillier has the ride on the lightly raced seven-year-old.
"Nash is a world-class jockey and he's got a great understanding of Cepheus," he said.
"I'm pretty confident we'll push forward from the wide gate. Cepheus has got good speed from the barriers. Cepheus usually goes forward in his races but he's not one dimensional.
"I'll have a chat with Nash late on Friday and before the race to get an indication of where he thinks the speed will come from in the race. I don't have to overload Nash with ideas or plans - as I said he's a world class jockey and is in great form this season."
Cepheus comes into Saturday's Ingham with impressive form lines. He ran second in the $3 million Big Dance at Randwick last month following wins in the Alan Brown and Shannon at Rosehill at his two prior outings.
"His form is very good," Dunn said. "Cepheus is just a good tough horse. We prefer to space his runs hence the few weeks break since his last run in the Big Dance.
"I can't fault his form or condition going into the Ingham. I've got no doubt it he drew a better barrier the bookies would have him a lot shorter then the $14 which is on offer.
"Cepheus had a few issues early in his career when he came here from overseas but we sorted them out. He had a tendon problem and we gave him a long break.
"We haven't had any problems with him ever since. We've worked out he's a bit of a duffer on wet tracks so we try and keep him away from them. Cepheus is a good-doing horse in the stable so we've worked out to keep him in work. He seems to thrive on the stable environment."
From his last three starts Cepheus has amassed more than $1.6 million in stake-money for his connections and Dunn sang the praises of Racing NSW for the hefty increases in prizemoney over the past few years.
"It's amazing prizemoney which is on offer for racing in NSW," Dunn said. "We picked up $600,000 for running second in the Big Dance last time. That's a lot of money.
"I think the increases in NSW prizemoney has stopped a lot of trainers and owners from selling horses to Hong Kong. There's no need to do that now because we've got such wonderful prizemoney across the board for our races here. I've just go my fingers crossed we might get a share of the $2 million which is on offer on Saturday."
The Ingham is the 13th Sydney thoroughbred race to boast prizemoney of at least $2 million each year. The winner of The Ingham is also exempt from the Doncaster Mile Ballot, which is run on day one of the Star Championships in April.
Cepheus makes the trip to Randwick on Saturday, with stablemates Veandechance and Golden Decade.
Veandechance scored an impressive victory first-up at Doomben last month and Dunn believes she's improved with that run under her belt.
"Veandechance is in great order," he said. "I've very happy with her going into this race. With a bit of luck in the run I think she'll be hard to beat while Golden Decade had no luck last time and should be competitive."
Rawillier has also been booked to ride Veandechance and Golden Decade for Dunn.