What the New Tentland Bar Sprint (1100m) lacks in numbers is more than compensated by depth and is one of the better restricted races seen at Albany this season.
Equal top weight in the field of six is Carry The Nation who resumes for leading trainer Mark Nelson after scoring an emphatic all-the-way victory on Boxing Day.
“I’m looking forward to his return but he might find this too sharp first-up,” said Nelson.
“I think Cougar Town is the horse to beat.”
Cougar Town, a filly by Postponed from the Raquel Mills team in Capel, has shown potential but needs to breakthrough after just the one win and seven placings from 15 starts.
“She hasn’t been too far from them but a win would be a great confidence boost,” said Mills.
“Clint Harvey goes back on which is an important addition.”
Well travelled galloper Cavallino looms as a chance after an impressive last-start win in the Skyracing TV-Provincial Championship Series Heat (1200m) at Mount Barker.
That was his second start since crossing from the eastern states and followed a debut fourth to Soldiers Salute.
Internationalist can play a part if she produces her barnstorming finish from two starts back when she ran on to defeat Movies By Burswood.
The opening race of the programme, the Albany Cup 2012 Maiden (1100m), will see Harry’s Horse turn out for his first appearance in the Great Southern.
The three-year-old gelding, formerly with Trevor Andrews in Perth, has yet to win in seven outings but don’t dismiss his chances according to new trainer Holly Elmis.
“His record doesn’t show it but he does possess a fair amount of ability,” Elmis said.
“He did finish just over a length from Bliss Street last year.
“Connections are hoping a change of environment might give him the spark required.
“He has only been with me for a short time but I’m expecting a solid effort.”
Elmis has cautioned punters to dismiss the effort of Lobbyist who had his colours lowered in the Mount Barker Cup (2000m) by Hibernian.
Lobbyist entered the feature race in top form with successive wins but faded to finish seventh and five lengths from the winner.
“I wasn’t disappointed by his efforts and I thought he was a little unlucky,” said Elmis.
“He had to do some work from a wide draw and was still there with 100m to go.
“In this afternoon’s race Desert Oak looks a strong threat but we did manage to finish ahead of him in the cup.
“I think Lobbyist is capable of bouncing back.”
Lobbyist will jump from barrier 10 for Takahide Ikenushi and drops back to the 1800m of the Where The Surf Meets The Turf Handicap.
Elmis believes Pure Attraction, who has run consecutive minor placings, will be competitive again in the Donovan Advertising Handicap (1200m).