Nicko Star, orphaned at birth and blessed with a whirlwind finish, will head a three-pronged attack by local trainer Michael Byers at Taree on Friday.
The five-year-old mare, a Raymond Spokes mount, tackles the Solo Class 2 Hcp (1400m).
Byers, confident of a good day, will saddle up his entire race team on Friday with Gypsy Ruler lining up in the Saxby’s Diet Ginger Beer Benchmark 70 Hcp (1600m) and in-form Oh I Know running in the Pepsi Max Benchmark 55 Hcp (1300m).
“I’ve got eight horses but only three racing and they’re all lining up tomorrow,” Byers said.
“All three are definite chances.”
Nicko Star steps up to 1400m second-up on Friday.
The mare, owned and bred by retired builder Noel Death and his wife Celia, gave notice of a much-improved effort by winning an 800m jumpout at Taree last week.
“She went brilliant,” Byers said.
“She’s in good order for tomorrow.”
Spokes replaces apprentice Jessica Payne who was aboard the mare when a first-up third to Soi’vebeentold over 1300m at Taree on February 8, making up a stack of ground in the run home.
“She got back five lengths last between the 800 metres and 600 metres last start and was beaten less than one and a half lengths,” Byers said.
“She’s a mare that has to be ridden quiet early. She just doesn’t go out of the gates.
“If you try and ride her along early she puts the brakes on, won’t go at all, always been like that.
“In the barriers she’s a nasty piece of equipment, wants to kick and bite you, savage.
“On her back she’s as good as gold.”
Recent rain in the area favours Nicko Star whose two wins were both on heavy tracks.
“She likes it wet but having the speed on is most important,” Byers said.
“Because she gets back early, the faster they go the better.
“She just keeps winding up, rolling into the race.
“She’s in good order. I’m confident she’ll run a big race.”
Byers added that Gypsy Ruler deserved to win a race and that Oh I Know, a last-start winner on her home track on February 18, was flying.