Clint Lundholm's preparations for the Newhaven Park Country Championships will begin on Saturday at Royal Randwick.
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The Dubbo trainer will have two chances to run in Saturday's TAB Highway Handicap (1200m) including the highly-rated Amulet Street.
A talented five-year-old gelding, Amulet Street finished third in the Country Championships Final at Randwick last year and will be fresh after a 38-week spell.
Speaking to Racing NSW, a relaxed Lundholm confessed this weekend will be the starting point for his preparations for the central districts qualifier at Coonamble on March 12.
"All trainers are setting their best for the Country Championships, this is the starting point, mine anyway," he said.
Amulet Street has drawn barrier 13 for the race and will also carry the most weight, with 62kgs on board, almost three more than any other runner in the field.
The gelding is no stranger to a Country Championships preparation having placed second at Coonamble's qualifier last year after finishing behind Brett Robb's Great Buy.
But with Nash Rawiller locked in to ride, Lundholm is confident Amulet Street can run to his potential.
"We'd intended to claim with Amulet Street expecting around that weight but we couldn't get the apprentice we wanted," he said.
"So went back to the owners and decided on a top senior.
"Drawn wide no favours but he's got decent fresh form, he'll be competitive knowing he'll improve plenty on whatever he does. He's got the frame to carry weight, used to it and we've got the right rider aboard there.
"Hit the Rim developed nicely into an open company bush horse last prep and from that draw, he'll put himself into the race."
Hit The Rim is also coming off a long spell, having not run since August 2022 and has drawn well with barrier one to hold the six-year-old gelding.
Lundholm has trusted Jake Pracey-Holmes to ride the gelding on Saturday and is an outside chance to place.
Prior to his spell, Hit The Rim placed in his last three races but was unable to pick up a victory.
The duo will team up again on Monday at Bathurst with Watch Me Rumble to run in the Pearce's Furniture One Lithgow Country Championships Preview Class 4 Handicap (1200m).
A winner in her last start, Watch Me Rumble has been in red-hot form of late, placing in her previous two races.
Saturday's race will jump at 2:05pm.
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