Dungog trainer Joe McFadyen believes an outside draw should prove ideal for Nangar Jim if he can repeat his flying start in the group 2 Maitland Gold Cup (450 metres) on Friday night.
Nangar Jim was beaten last week for the first time at Maitland in eight starts at the track when he was run down late by Scorching Boy in his heat.
He ran 24.78 seconds in the half-length loss, which was the fastest runner-up time across the six qualifiers.
The defeat has not deterred punters, who kept Nangar Jim as a $2.80 TAB favourite for the $40,000-to-the-winner final from box eight on Thursday. Scorching Boy, for Wagga trainer Jess Fothergill, was at $7.50 after drawing four.
Peter Sims-trained Rampani was second favourite at $3.80 after posting the fastest heat win and gaining box two.
McFadyen was surprised to see Nangar Jim get chased down last week after he started brilliantly from box four to build a strong lead, but he was pleased with how the decider shaped up.
Nangar Jim has four wins and a second from five starts in the eight.
"The dog that ran him down is a pretty serious dog when it gets the right run. It's got a big engine," McFadyen said.
"Jim is really fit but he just got beaten by a better dog on the night, just very strong.
"Jim actually broke the first two section records in the heat. You couldn't ride a motorbike around there that fast.
"He's got a great record from box eight. There's a fair bit of speed in the race, but his best asset is his early and mid-race pace, so if he can do what he's been doing there, hopefully he can get across.
"The box draw has worked out all right if everything goes to plan.
"The one [Sublime Ethics] is a wide runner so if it starts getting off around that first turn, anything on its outside could be in a bit of trouble. On the sectionals, hopefully Jim's in front of whatever is going to happen there.
"He's had a great week and I'm very happy with him, so there's no excuses."
The other feature of the night, the Maitland Future Stars Maiden Final (400m), shapes as a battle between well-drawn fastest qualifiers Canya Inferno and Rinsed The Lot.
Canya Inferno ($2.80), for Greta trainer Michelle Lill, has box one for the $15,000-to-the-winner decider and won in 22.48 last week.
Michelle Sultana's Rinsed The Lot ($2.60) won in 22.34, also on debut, and will start from the two in the final.
Dana Ivers-trained Barbie Zeal, which had box three, was a scratching.
Race one is at 7.19pm.
McFadyen, meanwhile, has Sandstorm Rico (box two) and Nangar Luna (eight) in the GRNSW Middle Distance Series (565m) race.
"Rico, he's in an absolute purple patch of form at the moment," he said.
"The dog in the four, Nangar Rocket, they are old sparring partners and he's had Rico's measure but they haven't raced in two months. But Rico is going well and it will be interesting to see how that race pans out.
"If they cut at each other and Luna gets right behind them, I wouldn't be surprised if she gets home over the top of them. But she's giving away a fair bit of experience on them."
He also has Royal Nangar in the ninth (450m).
"Royal Nangar is drawn well in two and the small field should suit, but Got The Feature is a pretty serious dog and it's drawn well out in seven. It should be hard to beat."