Leading Great Southern trainer Paul Hunter believes weight is the biggest obstacle to The Express notching successive wins at Mount Barker on Wednesday.
The Danehill Express gelding will lump top weight of 59kg after carrying 1kg less when breaking his maiden status at Albany two weeks ago.
Following three consecutive placings he broke through in grand style when he put 2 ½ lengths over his nearest opposition.
Mitchell Pateman retains the ride and partners The Express from barrier one in the Tony Boreham Handicap (1100m).
“It was a good win and the best he has hit the line,” said Hunter.
“His previous three were good but he hadn’t finished off.
“I thought he was going away from them on the line.
“It’s a funny weight scale when a horse wins a maiden and carries 59kg
“It seems a bit unusual and he has to give horses weight.
“It’s all significant at this level.
“I think he will be competitive but weight is a query I think.”
Hot Goth produced her best run this campaign when she flashed home from the tail of the field to run second, beaten 1 ½ lengths, behind Catzilla at Albany in January.
The Blackfriars mare meets a small but handy field of seven in the Life Members Handicap (1300m), headed by Tiger Pete and Zipabout, who is chasing his fourth straight win.
“Zipabout is one of our most promising and up and coming horses,” said Hunter.
“He will take a fair beating and is coming off a big win in Albany.
“He is obviously the horse to beat.
“But I’m happy with my mare who is going well.”
Hunter rates last-start runner up Terirem as the hardest to beat in the GT & JF Couper Maiden (1100M), but won’t discount Reuben’s Girl, despite her moderate record.
The mare has yet to figure in eight outings and ran a recent fifth to War Ksar at Albany, but Hunter says there was something to take out of the run.
“That was her best run ever for me,” said Hunter.
“Terirem ran a good race the other day behind The Express and is the horse to beat.
“But I expect my horse to be competitive and I’m quite happy with her.
“She doesn’t have a lot of ability but puts in what she’s got.
“The level suits her and I expect her to be an each way chance.”
Hunter saddles Inexpressible in the Cup Day 15th March Handicap (1850m) but believes the four-year-old is likely to be outclassed.