The Australian attack across the ditch in the Interdominion Series continues to get stronger after excellent barrier draws for most of the contenders.
The star of the show at the moment is Victorian Smoken Up which is ready for a clean sweep of the heats in Auckland after finding even more luck in the gate draw.
Trainer-driver Lance Justice was ecstatic after his charger drew spot one for his next Alexandra Park qualifying heat.
“Everything has fallen into the place so far on the trip,” Justice said.
“He handled the travel well, seems to love racing in the opposite direction over here and we’ve drawn well in both heats.
“I couldn’t believe how easily he won and how fantastic he felt last week. There’s no reason he won’t be better again this week.
“We all know the speed he’s got, so I’ll be leading and there’s no reason he shouldn’t win again.”
His major challengers in the race will all start alongside him on the front row with Smiling Shard in two, Power Of Tara in three, Washakie in four and Blacks A Fake in five.
Natalie Rasmussen was satisfied with Blacks A Fake’s draw and said this race will be entirely different to what we saw last week.
“He needed the run last week so I drove him soft, but this week he’s ready to do it tough,” she said.
“He’s a different horse from this time last week.”
In the first of Friday’s pacing heats Mr Feelgood has every chance to win the race after grabbing position one.
His main rival Im Themightyquinn will have it all to do from spot ten.
Another Victorian, Villagem will start from gate two in that race and should qualify after running third to Smoken Up last week.
One of New Zealand’s top hopes Monkey King grabbed position nine setting himself up for the sprint lane on the home turn.
In the trotting heats Sundons Gift is another Australian which can lay claim to having the prime starting spot while stablemate Let Me Thru will need to force his way into the race from a wide gate.