Reigning Hawkesbury Gold Cup champion Darci Be Good won't be right at his peak for his title defence tomorrow as Bede Murray juggles two gallopers at different junctures in their campaign.
Owned by a syndicate of Illawarra Turf Club members, Darci Be Good will headline Murray's two-pronged attack on the rejuvenated Group 3 feature which also includes the consistent World Wide.
Darci Be Good was shaded by Alma's Fury, prepared by Bede's son Paul, in an exhibition gallop at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
Alma's Fury will resume in the Group 3 Show County (1200 metres) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
"The other horse worked a bit better than him, but you would expect him to," Murray said.
"He's returning for a sprint race and Darci's getting ready for a mile race. It's just a question of whether Darci will get back to his best with the problems we've had.
"He's probably as good as I can expect him to be, as far as I can see from what he's done. We'll get the real answers during the race. Both are probably not right at their peak."
Darci Be Good stormed to victory in last year's Hawkesbury Gold Cup, run in November, but has been restricted to just five races since as he battled a degenerative bone condition.
His only start this campaign was a weakening eighth in the Listed Winter Challenge earlier this month over 1500-metres.
"I could see there wasn't room for another run in between, so we went out in that race planning to do the best we could with his preparation leading up to Thursday," Murray said.
"The horse has had a question mark on him and you can't be too confident until you see him get back to doing what he can do."
World Wide finished sixth behind his stablemate in the 2012 renewal, but has flourished in a seven-race campaign this time reaping back-to-back city wins.
"There's not a lot of races around at the moment so I thought they might as well both go around," Murray said. "If he doesn't quite run up to expectations, it means he has a little bit of break."