Justin Stanley is the most successful trainer in the western area when it comes to the Country Championships and in 2019 he will be targeting a third trip to the Royal Randwick final.
Stanley took out 2016 qualifier at Dubbo Turf Club with Something Borrowed and this year he saw Good Host win the $150,000 heat at Dubbo Turf Club.
Good Host has only raced twice since 12th in the country final at Randwick and is still eligible to contest the Country Championships again in 2019, while Stanley is also ramping up preparations with two other hopes in the coming week.
“I’ve got three heading that way,” he said after scoring a win at Wellington earlier this week.
“The Rouseabout, last year’s winner Good Host, and Get To The Chopper. They’ll all be good chances, I think.”
Good Host is set to make his long-awaited return to racing at Orange’s Towac Park on Sunday.
The five-year-old hasn’t raced since May 6 but returned from a 31-week spell with a fifth-placed finish in a trial at Dubbo on December 10.
Jake Pracey-Holmes, who rode the gelding to victory in the qualifier in March, is back in the saddle on Sunday and will go from barrier six in the Central West Trailers Class 3 Handicap (1280m).
The Rouseabout is the one in danger of missing the Dubbo heat, with another win likely needed to ensure his rating is high enough to earn a start.
His current rating is 58, with one win recorded from 11 career starts, but showed promise when scoring back-to-back placings in September before a 12-week freshen up.
He’s nominated to make his return to racing at Gilgandra on Tuesday, with Kath Bell-Pitomac to take the ride in the David Baker Earth Moving Class 1 Handicap (1200m).
Get To The Chopper has 19 career and Stanley, who trains out of Narromine after switching from Dubbo earlier in the year, will have to put in plenty of work at home.
Horses with more than 20 career starts are not eligible for the Country Championships.
Get To The Chopper will trial at Gilgandra.
The Western Racing Association Country Championships Qualifier will be held at Dubbo Turf Club on February 10 next year.