Favourable track conditions allow Viceroy to return to Sydney midweek racing while Luke Pepper also lines up stablemate Erins Zar for a city debut at Canterbury.
Canberra-based Pepper has a two-pronged attack on the Schweppes Hcp (1250m) on Wednesday and the trainer is confident both four-year-olds will justify the trip north although they are at opposite ends of the betting spectrum.
Viceroy, who joined Pepper from Tony McEvoy’s South Australian operation in February, has never fared worse than fourth in three starts for his new trainer, and even that placing at Warwick Farm on May 31 had mitigating factors.
“He got in all sorts of trouble last start. There was a fall (Eastern Legend) that put him sideways. He still hit the line good,” Pepper said.
Viceroy, who won first-up for Pepper at the Wagga Wagga carnival in May, has been waiting more than a month for a suitable track and with Canterbury in the soft range on Tuesday, the surface should be ideal.
“This should be as good as it’s going to get over winter. He’s in good order while drawing one with Hughie (Bowman) on board is a big help,” Pepper said.
Pepper inherited Viceroy, Wednesday’s $3.80 Luxbet favourite, when a group of Canberra owners sought a replacement for Stratum’s Siren after she was retired late last year.
“They were looking for a horse pretty quick and he’s done a good job for them so far.
“He’s a benchmark 65 in town so he finds himself in the right race.”
Pepper said Erins Zar ($21) warranted a trip to town after winning his past two starts at Gundagai and Wagga, albeit in an easier grade than Wednesday’s company.
“It’s a big step up for him but he deserves his crack. Down in the weights (55kg) he’s a threat,” Pepper said.
“Even though he won races early he was still very new and very immature in the brain. He’s putting it together now.”