Trainer Darren McAuliffe confidently declares Express Service won’t be taking any backward steps in Wednesday’s Tabtouch Hannans Handicap (1400m) in Kalgoorlie.
The son of Danehill Express has drawn the second-widest gate in the field of 16 runners but McAuliffe is unfazed and issued a warning to his rivals.
“He will get across quite easily and control the race,” said McAuliffe.
“If the other runners want to kick up they are going to be cutting their own throats.
“If they apply the pressure they are only going to be playing into our hands.
“He is a tough on-speed runner and they are hard to run down in Kalgoorlie.”
McAuliffe is defiant Express Service can overcome top weight of 59kg.
The previous horse to win Kalgoorlie’s feature sprint with the same impost was Corporate Bruce in 2002.
“He won with 61kg as a three-year-old in Kalgoorlie last year,” said McAuliffe.
“He carried 60kg when defeating stakes winner Mr Utopia at Belmont.
“The weight won’t bother him and is not an issue.”
Express Service is chasing his third straight win and the second-leg of a Goldfields double after taking out the Coolgardie Cup (1760m) last month.
It’s been a terrific comeback to racing for the gelding who spent eight months away from the race track after sustaining multiple injuries.
“He had foot issues which kept him out of last year’s Hannans Handicap,” said McAuliffe.
“I then brought him back for one race and he tore his hamstring.
“It’s been a difficult road but he is tough and has come through well.”
Express Service will be ridden by William Pike and is the $4.80 Tabtouch favourite.