Western Heir opened as the $3.50 TAB favourite on Wednesday after drawing gate one for Saturday night's group 1 $100,000 Hunter Regional Championship Final (2030 metres) at Newcastle Paceway.
Nulkaba trainer Clayton Harmey gained the gun draw for Western Heir and a handy spot in four for his other finalist, Kanye Crusader ($9).
However, the draw was poor for the Melanie Elder-trained Ashark, which was arguably the most impressive heat winner.
Ashark was drawn in 10, which will be gate two on the back row, behind Polly Downing-trained long-shot Elsie Gem ($31). If emergencies Corsini (seven) and Caesareal (11) come out as expected, the final will have seven pacers off the front line and three on the back.
Ashark, which came from last with a long three-wide run to claim his heat on May 9, opened at $4.50 on the third line of betting but was quickly into $3.80.
Master Catch, for Fullerton Cove trainer Lisa McDonald, opened at $4 after drawing five but he eased to $4.40.
Emm Aye Dee ($14), for Tamworth trainer-driver Dean Chapple, gained gate three. Adam Ruggari-trained Hazelnuts ($6) and Jenny Sellers-trained Lightning Bob ($17) make up the outside of the front line.
Que Sera ($11), for Millers Forest trainer Chris Bourke, won her heat from gate nine, the inside of the second row, last Friday and she has the same barrier for the decider.
Her position early will depend on the start of Western Heir, which fought hard to lead in his heat from gate three last Friday. However, he has galloped out three times at the start this year.
Ultra Bliss ($41) for veteran Salt Ash trainer Neil Thompson, was the other to draw the back row.