Shane Tritton's laser-like focus on the Inter Dominion has Mach Beauty at the pointy end - and he insists his top hope can take the scalp of For A Reason for the second time in the space of a week.
The Keinbah trainer will send Ardghal and Suave Stuey Lombo into battle in the first of two Inter Dominion qualifiers at Menangle tonight.
But it's the free-wheeling Mach Beauty's return bout with Victoria Cup hero For A Reason which really excites.
Mach Beauty ran his rivals ragged in an impressive free-for-all effort at headquarters last week and will need to run in the top two to ensure his spot in Australasia's most prestigious race on Sunday, March 2.
"Everyone's happy to write him off, but on the big days he turns up and lets everyone know he's there," Tritton said of Mach Beauty, a $5 chance with TAB.com.au behind For A Reason ($1.55).
"I think there's a spot in most Grand Circuit races for a Mach Beauty ... the problem is he does all the work and doesn't get much of the glory later on.
"He certainly earns his spot and I think in every Grand Circuit race he's been in he's only been two lengths away from the winner."
Lauren Panella will be in the sulky behind Mach Beauty, which will vie for the lead from barrier seven, pending no further scratchings, with For A Reason in five.
The five-year-old sizzled with a 1:51 mile rate last week but Tritton cautioned Panella will be mindful of not burning too much fuel early on faced with the testing 2400-metre trip.
"He's the horse in the race no-one likes to come up against because how do you disarm him? You've just got to hope he gets tired," he said.
"It's hard being first past the post the way he's driven but that's the way we've got to drive him. Obviously life's a lot easier when it's a mile because you can run them off their feet.
"At the 2400 [metres] we'll look at the other horses and see which way is going to work out best."
An Inter Dominion minus three-time defending champion Im Themightyquinn and Grand Circuit veteran Smoken Up will signal something of a changing of the guard.
Miracle Mile winner Beautide will headline the first NSW heat at Menangle tonight and tops all-in betting for the series at $3.40.
Tritton's Ardghal and Suave Stuey Lombo have drawn directly outside the former Tasmanian star.
"Everyone is going to drive a race to qualify so he [Beautide] is not going to be able to do what he wants," Tritton said.
"Leading up to the Inter Dominion everyone is happy to give their horses easy runs and make sure they're right for this week.
"Now there's certainly going to be no easy runs; he's going to have earn his spot like everyone else."
The six heats will run across Australia and NZ within a 90-minute window tonight.