Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding hopes time lost with a foot abscess will not prevent Roll With Lachlan from challenging in the Ross Gigg Memorial (2030 metres) at Newcastle on Saturday night.
Harding is targeting the Bathurst Gold Chalice with Roll With Lachlan, which will race for the first time since fourth at Newcastle last July.
Roll With Lachlan, though, is almost a month behind schedule because of the abscess and has trialled twice heading into Saturday night's run.
"I gave him a spell after his two-year-old campaign and I had him not far off trialling but then he had a foot abscess, a bit of a setback, but if I didn't have that, they would really know he's in the race," Harding said.
"But I still think he will be about them. He's not a bad little horse and he's a bit stronger this time in."
Michael Muscat's Masons Delight and Rickie Alchin's Regulus loom as Roll With Lachlan's main rivals in the Hunter Men of League race that honours their former secretary and the late Newcastle Harness Racing Club boss.
"It would be nice to win," Harding said. "Ross was a good bloke and good for harness, but the two Sydney runners will be hard to beat."
Harding will also have Sackheim engaged at Newcastle but he will come up against surprise entry All You Need Is Faith in race four.
Now with Sydney trainer Craig Cross, the former All Stars Stable runner was fourth in the group 1 Chariots of Fire last month and won a listed race at Menangle two weeks ago.
"It will win by the length of the straight," Harding said.
"If we have no bad luck, we might run second."