Winning the biggest race in Dubbo Harness Racing's yearly calendar is a singular achievement, but this weekend driver Doug Hewitt will have the unusual chance to win it twice.
The Red Ochre Mares Classic, normally held close to the middle of the year, was won by Hewitt and Scarlet Babe in May before the race was upgraded to Group 2 and rescheduled for December 1.
It'd be a welcome bonus to round out the year for Hewitt, who's grateful for the unique chance to double up on wins in a single year.
"It'd be unreal to win two in one year," Hewitt said.
"That'd be a really nice get with the increased prize."
Hewitt, who said the upgrade in status for the race was 'all the better for country racing' led early and often in the May meeting at Dubbo's track and will have his work cut out for him if he wants a repeat.
"I'm happy to be back driving her, she's a class mare, but it's going to be that little bit harder this time working from that back row."
Hewitt has drawn the seventh spot and Scarlet Babe will line up first in the second row, which will be just the first obstacle in the surging mare's path to a repeat performance.
"She's probably matured quite a bit since May, she's closing in on that peak condition, or thereabouts, she got a really good run last time in Blayney and she's running really good here at home."
"It's definitely made trickier to repeat with us drawing that spot in the back, but if she can sit behind the leader and work from there, she's definitely got the ability to win it, we'll have to get a little lucky, but she can do it."
The other obstacle standing in Scarlet Babe's way is the much broader field of entrants, with a number of Sydney horses jumping at the increased prize money on offer in Sunday's race.
"It's really good for the sport and it's great for Dubbo, obviously getting the increase in prize money is great and it does bring those nice horses from Sydney and elsewhere," Hewitt said.
But while the stacked field poses a bigger threat to Hewitt, he's welcoming the opportunity to test Scarlet Babe against a higher level.
"It'll be good to test her against those horses, because she's probably a horse that will end up going to Sydney at some point, so it'll be good to test her against them now," Hewitt said.