Perth trainer Todd Harvey fired a warning shot to Wayside’s eleven rivals ahead of the $100,000 Albany Cup (2100m) on Sunday.
Harvey, who co-trains Wayside with his father, Robert, said the gelding had thrived since winning the Geraldton Cup (2100m) on April 2.
In a dominant display Wayside, ridden by Shaun McGruddy, skipped clear in the straight and defeated Falcon Crest by three lengths.
“His work has been super and he has never been better,” Todd Harvey said.
“If anything he has probably improved with the run.
“He is looking good, is in form and so is the jockey.
“I think he is in with a big shot.”
Wayside is on the 54kg minimum for Shaun McGruddy, the same weight he carried to success in the Geraldton Cup.
Wayside and McGruddy, who has won the Albany Cup twice previously, have drawn perfectly in barrier four.
Harvey believes maturity has been the key to Wayside who re-joined his stable after winning the Carnarvon Cup (2000m) for Zach Tyler last year.
Wayside launched his racing career in a Northam maiden for Grant Williams and also had stints with Geraldton trainers Geoff Rodier and Sarah Childs.
“I think maturity and a decent spell before commencing his current campaign has played a big part,” Harvey said.
“He was very immature even as a four-year-old, but is now beginning to come into his own.
“It’s taken time, but I think he is an improved horse this time in.”
Leading Great Southern trainer, Steve Wolfe, concedes Wayside is the horse to beat, but believes War Ksar is capable of flying the local flag proudly.
War Ksar was a 1900m winner at Albany in February and after one third and consecutive fourth placings he broke through last-start at Ascot.
The War Pass gelding was near last and behind a wall of horses passing the 200m, but sprouted wings late to defeat Blustery by a neck over 2200m.
“Wayside is going to be extremely hard to beat, but my horse has done nothing wrong and is in great order,” Wolfe said.
“He is not a superstar, but is as fit as he can be and is pretty full proof.
“He can kick hard and if he is midfield he will be hard to beat.”
War Ksar has drawn barrier five. Troy Turner has been booked to take the mount.
Wolfe is chasing his fourth Albany Cup and Turner his third.
The former won with Jobeth (2012), Impact Rating (2008) and Try A Tune (2007).
The latter piloted Fimmo (1998) and Kinborough (1994).
RWWA: Julio Santarelli