Top Hunter trainer Clayton Harmey believes Fire And Sword can match it with the best in the Gold Chalice (2260m) heats for three-year-olds at Bathurst on Monday.
Fire And Sword will begin from gate five in heat four of five qualifiers for the group 1 final set down for next Saturday night. A top-two finish will guarantee a start in the $100,000 race and Harmey was confident Fire And Sword could be in the mix.
He was third at his most recent start at Armidale on March 15 in preparation for the Bathurst trip, but that came after a win at Newcastle and back-to-back placings at Menangle in the Evolution series.
"It's a pretty even bunch of horses this year," Harmey said of the heats.
"My fella, on his last run, looked a week bit ordinary but he wears no hobbles and he's a big-striding boy, and that small track at Armidale just didn't suit him. He paced rough the whole race.
"He'll go pretty well, I'd say, going off the two runs I gave him against the better horses in Sydney.
"They are talking up Percy Bailey as one of the favourites in the series, and he beat us in a final at Menangle, but we came from last and gave it a good start. He beat us four metres, so my horse goes pretty good. I trained him this morning and he's ready to go."
Harmey is coming off a winning double at Newcastle on Saturday night from Western Heir and Rollin Jayjay.
Western Heir, which could head for a campaign in Queensland, bounced back from a fourth after breaking early last week, while Rollin Jayjay won on debut for the Nulkaba stable.
"His run was very good last week and he probably should have won, but he galloped out the gate and gave them a big start," Harmey said of Western Heir.
"Last night I was confident again and the main thing was to score him up.
"He's racing really well but I really think he needs to go to Queensland."