Beau Hoffa is set to start for Orange trainer Alex Van Den Bos in the Ray White Emms Mooney The Panorama (1300 metres) this weekend, the seven-year-old is among a bumper set of nomination's for Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing's new showcase race.
After a six-week freshen-up he ran fifth at Wellington before a promising trial at Towac Park on Monday, and the 2018 Soldier's Saddle champion joins the likes of Brad Draper's Eva Jean and Bjorn Baker's Star Of O'Reilly in the 22-strong group of potentials.
Star Of O'Reilly is coming off a comprehensive win in the 1400-metre Central West Trailers Class 2 Handicap at Towac Park on Monday, too.
No matter which trainer accepts they will be charged with taking down Dean Mirfin's Press Box, he's using the race exactly as it's designed as a final tune-up before $1.3 million dollar The Kosciusko at Randwick next month.
The Darren Hyde-trained Westlink and Dubbo hopes Chilcotin and Next Level, trained by Dar Lunn and Cindy Monaghan respectively, are also expected to contest Bathurst's $40,000 blockbuster on Sunday.
Sunday's meeting also includes the Bathurst Cup, in a agreement between Racing NSW and the host club the showpiece has been moved to Spring and this weekend marks the rare occasion of it being contested for the second time in a calendar year.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrain Bott-trained Chocalatier won the cup when it was run earlier this year but they won't have a chance in action this weekend, and while they had no luck in March things could be different for the Dubbo-based Lunn family.
Dar Lunn has put forward his consistent Helstar for the $40,000 cup and is out to go better than brother Garry, who had Nightspun run tenth in March's Bathurst Cup.
Helstar may have finished eighth in the recent $100,000 Dubbo Cup but the gelding had run three successive placings prior to that.
The winner of the Dubbo feature, Steamin', will be out for a second successive cup win after being nominated for the Bathurst event by Wellington trainer Michael Mulholland.
Steamin' produced a wholehearted performance to win at Dubbo earlier in the month and will no doubt be firmly in the mix at Bathurst after finishing victorious in three of his past five starts.
While Mulholland's hope likes to come from deep in the field late, one of the other possible contenders among the cup nominations is a noted front-runner.
Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson has nominated Sugar Dance for two events at Bathurst, the 1800-metre cup and also The Panorama.
"He runs well at Bathurst and handles the tight turns," Thompson told Racing NSW of Sugar Dance.
He runs well at Bathurst and handles the tight turns.Brett Thompson on Sugar Dance
Sugar Dance has slowly been making his way up in distance, having run fourth in the 1600m Dubbo feature behind Steamin' last time out.
"He's the type of horse that needs to be rated at an even tempo in the lead. At Dubbo, he just went a bit hard and worked solidly from the 900," Thompson said.
"He was still in front with 70 to go and it was a top run under the circumstances."
Thompson's six-year-old gelding has a near-perfect record at Bathurst, having started there twice for a win and a narrow defeat.
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