Steve Turnbull's eight-time Group 1 starter Atomic Red headlines this year's edition of the Banjo Patterson Cup (2260 metres), the feature race of the Orange Harness Racing Club's calendar.
Turnbull has four starters in the race,including Atomic Red, while 12-year-old veteran pacer Beetson will line up for the 203rd start of his career at the meeting, which has been moved from Towac Park to the Bathurst Harness Racing Club following the drought's impact on the Towac Park racecourse.
Fouroeight, named after the late Australian Test player Phillip Hughes (his cap number was 408), will also get a run, with trainer Mat Rue in the gig for the seven-year-old.
Fouroeight is coming off a third at the Tamworth City Cup on January 23 and while the $2.70 favourite was held out by an $81 chance in Gottashopearly, Rue said he was pleased how the bay gelding ran.
"I was pretty happy with how we went [at Tamworth]. The winner just ran me off my feet pretty much," he said.
"I tried to put him into the race early but the driver of the lead horse got running and pretty much didn't allow my horse to get comfortable."
Rue expects a difficult drive on Sunday, citing Turnbull's four chances as key threats.
"It's probably looking like the hardest race he's been in for a long time, to be honest," he said.
"The Turnbull runners are sensational.
"Atomic Red's form doesn't look well numerically but I think he's the one to beat. Amanda [Turnbull] jumps on him this week and I think he'll lead and run pretty strong sectionals the whole race. He'll be hard to run down."
Fouroeight has drawn barrier six and will start behind the mobile between Beetson (barrier five) and Courtsinsession (barrier seven).
While Rue admitted it'll be difficult for Fouroeight to claim victory, he said he still excepts the gelding to run a "good race".
"If the race is run at a genuine tempo, he'll be getting home well but, like I said, the Turnbull runners will be hard to beat," he said.
"Courtsinsession and Conviction are going to be really tough to beat. My guy, he doesn't mind the journey if he doesn't do any work."
Rue also expects the meeting to be well supported by the Orange community.
"It's really disappointing that they couldn't run it over in Orange. The Bathurst drivers don't mind going over a couple of times a year," he said.
"I'm sure there'll be a strong representation from Orange and it'll be good if of the Orange drivers and trainers can have a bit of success on the day."
- BANJO PATTERSON CUP FINAL: 1) Lets Katchmeifucan, 2) Bettor Than Best, 3) Atomic Red, 4) Maximus Red, 5) Beetson, 6) Fouroeight, 7) Courtsinsession, 8) Conviction
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS AND SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...