There may be no Illawarra horses racing at Rosehill this weekend, but Brett Lazzarini is confident it won't be long before one of his charges is up to the city grade.
That runner is gelding Wild Chap, the four-year-old to contest a 1300 metre benchmark 64 at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
He enters the race on the back of a commanding win at Wyong last month and Lazzarini is confident he'll make it two in a row this weekend.
"Wild Chap is a long way above average," Lazzarini said. "I don't think we'll see the best of him until next prep, but they'll know he's there Saturday. He'll win.
"He will go forward but if something takes him on, he'll be happy to sit in behind it. He doesn't have to lead to win, which is why he's so versatile. He's improved every start since he's been here."
Still immature, the trainer plans on handing Wild Chap a short break after this weekend's run.
Once the four-year-old returns to work, Lazzarini will target the midweek Sydney grade with a long-term plan to build to the big stage.
"He's still very immature, he doesn't hold his top real well so we have to space out his starts. I'm hoping he'll come of age a bit, he's an exceptional horse.
"Once he comes back, we'll run him midweek in Sydney and if he takes it in his stride and steps up, then we'll progress him to Saturday racing. He'll probably end up black type.
"We just have to see how he goes, until you put horses in that level, you don't know if they'll cope. Some can't and some can."
Lazzarini has just two runners at Kembla on Saturday, with Bride of Vengeance contesting a seperate 1300m benchmark 64.
Coming off a win in Goulburn, the trainer is confident the five-year-old will handle the step up in class.
Bride of Vengeance will line up alongside Gwenda Markwell's Speed and Style and Robert and Luke Price's Winter In America.
The Price stable is confident their mare will rebound from a tough run last start, while they are also keen to watch three-year-old Aphrodotti make her debut.
The 1200m maiden plate features some highly-rated horses from the city, with Chris Waller-trained Keck to wear the famous Ingham Racing cerise colours in the week Bob Ingham died.
Given the strength of the field, Luke Price is using the race as a good form guide.
"We've found a strong maiden for her," Price said. "She could be taking on a potential Winx. There's a lot of Group 1 horses that turn up for their first start at Kembla.
"She's bred for a little bit further, she does everything right and should acquit herself well. She needs a run, so this should be a good starting point on her home track."