Trainer Jenny Graham has high hopes that her stable star Victorem will be selected for the $1.3m The Kosciuszko when the 14 slot winners are announced later this week but it is a one-time Kosciuszko hopeful that the trainer will be looking to break through on her home track at Port Macquarie on Monday.
That horse is Innervoice, a lightly raced four-year-old mare who has struck form quickly this preparation with close placings at her past two starts.
In the early stages of the Kosciuszko build-up Graham mentioned Innervoice as one of those horses who could take the next step and attract the attention of one of the ticket winners so there were lofty goals for her.
While she may get the chance to prove herself worthy in 2022 a win in the M & S Sprint Handicap (1200m) would set her up nicely for Graham to program the mare to have a second shot at the Country Championships in the autumn.
Innervoice finished 10th as a three-year-old in the Mid North Coast Qualifier back in February, held at Scone due to a washout at Taree, but when she returned to work this time around Graham said she was a much stronger mare.
At her last appearance, Innervoice charged home from last on the turn to snatch third place in a 1200m benchmark 58 just over a week ago and will likely need to produce a similar run to be in the finish today as she is again drawn awkwardly.
Graham has two other runners on her home track. Wandzel will be fitter for his first run in almost a year when he contests the HLW Projects Handicap (1500m) while Manly Hanover will be out to post his second win in the Hastings Co-Op Handicap (1000m) after a first-up third at Grafton last month.
Victorem, meanwhile, will likely have his major Kosciuszko lead-up run in the group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 18 where he will face Everest champion Classique Legend as well as Lost And Running, Gytrash, Rothfire and Eduardo.