Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham has warned that even if her stable star Victorem found trouble in The Kosciuszko it wouldn't mean the end of his chances because he is a "push-button professional".
Graham likes the chances of both her horses - Awesome Pluck being the other - in the $1.3 million race over 1200m at Randwick on Saturday, but when asked to assess them individually she suggested Victorem had graduated as a racer while Awesome Pluck was still completing his exams.
"Awesome Pluck's a really nice horse who is still learning his craft a bit, whereas Victorem is fairly push-button," Graham said.
"He's actually a professional, Victorem, while the other fellow is still learning but is just getting better and better all the time.
"Awesome Pluck can get himself into trouble, whereas the other horse - if he finds trouble - can get himself out of it quite quickly."
TAB fixed odds betting rates Awesome Pluck as a contender by keeping him safe in the middle of the market at $17, compared to favourite Victorem at $4.
Victorem and Awesome Pluck are both five-year-old geldings and Victorem, who has raced 16 times, has only had four more starts than his stablemate.
But last season Victorem graduated to racing regularly in Listed and Group class.
In last year's The Kosciuszko, Victorem didn't handle the Heavy 9 track and finished fifth, while Awesome Pluck ran third.
Adaptability to different track conditions is where Awesome Pluck holds the advantage between the pair.
"For Victorem, the dryer the better," Graham said.
"I think he's a lengths better horse on the dry. Awesome Pluck, he can handle both, but he can really handle the wet. He's as competitive on the dry, but he's a bit more versatile and can handle the wet better than a lot of other horses."
Victorem and Awesome Pluck are both going into The Kosciuszko first-up.
They each barrier trialled in different races on the same days at Wyong on September 17 and Rosehill on October 1.
The effort by Victorem to steam home and win the Rosehill trial over 1030m with his The Kosciuszko jockey Tommy Berry up suggested he was back in great order.
"Awesome Pluck would've had a race start leading in to The Kosciuszko, but unfortunately he drew wide when he was entered for one in Brisbane so we elected to go to the Rosehill trials ," Graham said.
"I was happy with that trial and how he'll go into the race. He's where I want him to be.
"It's a bit hard to judge, The Kosciuszko, with some horses going in fresh and others having had a run or two.
"But they're all good horses and good trainers. A lot will depend on the barrier draw and the track conditions.
"I feel that if my two horses race up to how they've been working, they'll both be very competitive."