Mark Gatt thought Mexico City was a typical "bread and butter" dog, but instead the free-wheeling front-runner will line up in what his trainer describes as the best race in NSW for years.
The white speedster was all but written off for tomorrow night's Dapto Megastar, the first Group One race at the world-famous track.
Principal sponsor Sportingbet has him a $21 outsider for the semi-invitational final, with Gatt chasing his second Megastar success in three years.
And the Thirlmere conditioner will have even more reason to hope Mexico City's lid-pinging ways can upset a stellar field converging on Dapto from all across the eastern seaboard.
"It's a bit more sentimental and it's good to get a dog you've done everything with from day one into a big race like this," Gatt said.
"Dapto's probably our closest track and a Group One worth $75,000 in our own backyard, I went through the kennel [looking for a runner]. I've got some smart young ones, but I didn't think I would have anything ready for the race.
"But we find ourselves in it so we're just happy to be there. We classed this dog as a bit of a bread and butter dog, but he's really stepped above that mark lately."
Mexico City confirmed his spot in the field when Peter Rocket nabbed him in the shadows of the post in last Thursday night's Prelude.
The top three from that race - plus five hand-picked runners - comprise the eight pups vying for the $75,000 first prize on offer tomorrow night.
"Every dog in the race is a rocket and it's a hot field," Gatt said. "I'd have to say it's probably the best race I've seen in NSW for a long time.
"He's got plenty of speed, but he's a bit hit and miss as he rocks backwards and forwards in the boxes. I've been doing a bit of box work just trying to get him to stay there."
Gatt claimed the Dapto Megastar in 2011 with the unheralded Oaks Road, which was parachuted into the field before using the race to vault to Group One success later in his career.