Trainer Roy Roots jnr knows what is possible in the Newcastle Mile and believes both of his runners have the potential to make lightning strike twice for his family in the race on Friday night.
The Central Coast-based trainer has Pitch Perfect and The Black Prince drawn well in three and four respectively for the $100,000 Miracle Mile qualifier, which is headlined by superstar Lochinvar Art from the widest gate.
The Black Prince, an $18 TAB chance on Thursday, was third for Roots jnr last year in the group 1, just 2.4 metres away from Majordan and his track record 1:50:7. Pitch Perfect, a $101 shot, was first emergency but gained a start on Wednesday when Whereyabinboppin was scratched.
Seven-time group 1 winner Lochinvar Art, which is owned by Lake Macquarie businessman Kevin Gordon, was a $1.45 favourite.
While not doubting the David Moran-trained pacer's claims on the race, Roots jnr believed Lochinvar Art would face a high-pressure affair and a challenge to get forward from the draw.
He pointed to Yayas Hot Spot's win in the race two years ago for his brother-in-law Shane Tritton as an example of what can happen.
"He was an emergency, got a run, was 100-1, sat three the fence, never went around a horse, went up the inside and won," Roots jnr said.
"It's going to a high-pressure race and as [The Black Prince's driver] Robbie Morris said to me, there's going to be some power on early here.
"Thunder Dance is fast out of the gate, Mafuta Vautin holds its own and then you've got my two. Turn It Up can smoke it early too. It's a recipe for a 26 [second] first quarter then it's going to be a little tactical from there.
"We'll see where Lochinvar Art is and hopefully they make him do a lot of work. At Newcastle, if they run a really quick quarter up the back, it's very hard to come around them."
He said Lochinvar Art would be "super tough to beat" but believed more was on the line for the rest of the field. As odds-on favourite, Lochinvar Art is all but certain to gain an invite into the March 6 Miracle Mile regardless of Friday night's result.
"His grand final is in two weeks but for a lot of these horses, their grand final is tomorrow night," he said.
As for his pair, Roots jnr believed they should not be underestimated.
"We're going into the race thinking we can win, not that we can't win," he said.
"The Black Prince is probably as good as I've ever had him. He's always dangerous, he's an opportunist. If there's a bit of power on and he can sit just off them, they will know he's about.
"He's super consistent and he's going to win one of these big ones, it's just when he can get the right trip.
"Last he was only coming on the scene and taking on that top grade, but he's had 12 months of it now.
"The next 12 months will probably be his best, because the Bettors usually get better with age and he was a slow maturing horse. He's stronger and faster than he ever was and he proved that at Menangle the other day in a trial, going 1:52:1 and getting home in 26.4. Robbie Morris was rapt and said this horse is flying.
"Pitch Perfect, it's just ridiculous that he's 100-1. It just blows me away. He beats half of those horses consistently. You couldn't rule him out. He likes the track and he has a 1:49 win last season. He has the second fastest win in the race.
"Both of mine have got to come out, they have to be in the mix early.
"At Newcastle, you can't too far away from the leaders over a mile.
"A lot of people go into these races thinking they can't beat him, but I tell all the drivers, 'don't go into the race thinking you can't beat him, go in thinking of a way how you can beat him. Think about it and use your head, because there's always a way'.
"You've just really got to be in the right place at the right time."
Tickets to the meeting were available at newcastleharness.com.au. Only a limited number could be left at the gate Friday night.
IN THE NEWS: