Paul Fitzpatrick has labelled the tactics of pole-sitting New Zealander Mah Sish as the key to Pub Blitz's hopes of an Inter Dominion boilover at Menangle on Sunday.
Describing his inside of the second-row draw as either a "really good draw or a really bad draw", the Cawdor horseman has conceded his chances of a maiden Inter Dominion win largely depend on Mah Sish's speed leaving the mobile.
"If Mah Sish leads, in behind the leader three back on the fence isn't too bad," Fitzpatrick said. "But if he gets crossed and we end up four back on the fence, it's a bad draw.
"I'm always keen to be on the fence as the shortest way home. If it's a genuine run race it will suit him. It could have been worse - he could have drawn 10 or 14."
Bookmakers remain cool on Pub Blitz's chances of keeping Australasia's most coveted harness racing crown in NSW, easing his quote out to $26 (from $15) after the draw.
Other NSW-trained runners Excel Stride ($16), Chariot King ($31), Mach Alert ($35) and Washakie ($51) are also being shopped at double-figure odds.
Fitzpatrick's tale of Inter Dominion near misses stretches back to Smooth Crusa, which finished sixth in the second of two final appearances he made under the premier trainer's care.
The Adelaide decider in 2007 was the second of four Inter Dominion finals won by harness racing's poster boy Blacks A Fake.
Pub Blitz, a horse Fitzpatrick described as doing a "good job" in Queensland before being sent south by owner Leigh Wanless, might not be in their class but has long been set for the revamped series.
And there will be no question marks about his ability to handle the 3009-metre slugfest, a task which Fitzpatrick thinks might hamper better-credentialled rivals.
"He's quick too, but one of his main [attributes] is his stamina and the 3000 metres will suit him," Fitzpatrick said.
"He'll just put him to sleep for a while and hopefully we'll get a crack at them in the last half. He's very, very strong and it will suit him. He loves the track, he knows the track and he went over the distance in the Hunter Cup and he went great [fourth behind Mah Sish]."
About to embark on the second leg of an ambitious Hunter Cup-Inter Dominion-Miracle Mile treble, Pub Blitz iced preparations for the $750,000 final with a trial at Menangle yesterday.
Meantime, Lincoln Royal's spot in the Inter Dominion final has been thrown into doubt after he was found to be lame in the near fore foot yesterday.
Harness Racing NSW vet Dr Martin Wainscott inspected the New Zealand-trained horse on Monday. A further examination will take place tomorrow morning.