Allan Gibson will be looking to put his new gelding Alaskan Aura to the test against the region's best upcoming prospects in the Silver Goblet Showcase (1100 metres) at Dubbo Turf Club.
The two year old progeny of Oratorio and Lady Alaska has only had two starts, one in South Australia before coming under Gibson's care and one afterwards at the Silver Goblet preview in Dubbo, where the gelding came in fifth.
"He's only had one start for me, he's only had one start previously, he's up against it I suppose, but I think he'll run a good race."
Gibson is relishing the opportunity to test out the horse's pace against somewhat familiar competition, and on familiar turf, with Brett Thompson's Denace having previously finished in first place in the preview.
Before that, Denace, took the field in the Wellington Boot Showcase, where the filly placed eighth.
But when sizing up the prospective contenders saddling up alongside Alaskan Aura on Friday, Gibson was mostly focused on other faces.
"There'a few handy ones in the mix, Clint Lundholm's horse looks pretty handy and so does Cameron Crockett's, although as we know, most of the field are unknowns, so it's hard to say."
Lundholm's Matter of Factor has had two starts in recent times, a seventh place finish in Wellington, and more recently, a first place finish in Gilgandra.
While Crockett's Baker Street is yet to debut in earnest, with only one trial to it's name.
The race will have $35,000 in prize money up for grabs, with first place taking out the lion's share at $16,740, but even if Gibson's Alaskan Aura doesn't deliver him a paying place, the gelding will still be getting some rest and recuperation afterwards.
"After this run, I'm going to take him to Coonamble and give him a spell, he does need to mature a bit more," Gibson said.
Gibson will also be running California Fox in the Country Classic Championship on the day, with the four year old, more established gelding his best chance to find a top place in the Winter Country Classic final (1300 metres).
For both races, longtime Gibson partner Ken Dunbar will be jockeying, with Gibson confident the partnership will bare more fruit for the stable.
"Ken does all of the work for me, he rides in all the races for me also, we've got a pretty good relationship with Ken," Gibson said.
For Gibson, the introduction of the Winter Country Classic has been a significant boon, and one he hopes other local clubs replicate.
"The more local contests we have, the more they start to put more races on for country horses only," Gibson said.
"That's certainly going to help us keep the prize money out here and not have horses coming across the mountains."
"Right now, it certainly makes the competition a lot harder with those Sydney class horses coming in."