MUDGEE trainer Bob Howe believes his galloper in today's Mudgee Cup, Toranaga, is "paying the price" for his recent run of success.
The five-year-old gelding has been slugged with 57 kilograms for the $25,000 feature, which will jump at 5.02pm.
In his last three starts, the Duelled x Palace Bound galloper has won twice - the Coonabarabran Bowling Club benchmark (1400m) on October 22 and the Petries Mitre 10 Tradies Day benchmark (1300m) at Bathurst on November 2.
Ironically, it is that success that could cost Howe his second Mudgee Cup.
"He hasn't been treated well with 57 kilograms," Howe said.
"He is paying the price. There are other horses who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars with less weight.
"If he had a lighter weight we could have been in it [for the win]."
Although Howe admits his chances of winning the 1600m event were slim, he won't steer away from Toranaga's natural running line.
"He will just take his customary position," he said. "He is a bit of a pacer and I'm sure he will feature at the end.
"We've stuck with him [jockey Anthony Cavallo] and he has been good for us."
Howe last won the Mudgee Cup in 2005 with Paper Boy.
"It's always nice to win it, it is always nice to win any race to tell you the truth.
"We are grateful he [Toranaga] is in it. We feel honoured to have one in the Cup.
"You have to be in it to win it and the horse has been great for us. We have had him for 18 months and has won eight times."
Howe said former Mudgee trainer Tracey Bartley's mare San Zaim would be hard to beat.
The Wyong-trainer is looking for back-to-back wins with the five-year-old, even though she has been in awful form.
She was a last start 6.7 lengths last of nine to Sastruga over 1500m at Rosehill on November 24.