A handy weight, a reasonable barrier, durability and an in-form rider can make up for whatever Tai Tai Tess may lack in class in the Listed Lord Stakes (1600m) at Mornington on Thursday.
Tai Tai Tess is at double-figure odds against open company winners like Spacecraft and Ulundi thanks to her inferior form outside restricted class.
But that negative may not be as severe as it looks.
Tai Tai Tess finished second in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown in November and at her only run since ran a worthy second to Le Roi over 2000m at Caulfield after racing on the speed both times.
Le Roi confirmed his staying promise on Wednesday with a Summer Cup win at Group Three in Sydney.
“If she has a bit of luck early and gets a spot you know she’ll run it right out,” said trainer Robert Smerdon.
“She’s Group placed and she’s honest.”
Tai Tai Tess, to be ridden by Craig Newitt, has a 5.5kg advantage on the joint topweights Snow Alert and Spacecraft, neither of whom bring sparkling form to the race.
The former Sydney galloper Snow Alert has failed to fire since joining the David Brideoake team and Spacecraft has looked the winner of at least three races this time in but has failed to find the line.
The hardest for Tai Tai Tess to beat could be the Warrnambool-trained Full Peal who made the step up from country class to win impressively at Caulfield at his last start.
Tuscan Fire, the runner-up in that race, has since finished a close second at Flemington and third placegetter Elusive King has also been placed again since.