LEADING trainer Lee Freedman is plotting another raid on the $180,000 Albury Gold Cup on Friday with Canberra Cup runner-up Cool Chap.
Twelve months ago Freedman broke a 27-year drought in the Gold Cup when Tom Melbourne blitzed his rivals.
Sydney jockey Brenton Avdulla will stick with Cool Chap following a narrow defeat in the Canberra Cup two weeks ago.
"He was just beaten in the Canberra Cup," Freedman said.
"He is in good form and Albury looks a good race for him.
"Canberra also looked a good race for him, but he just got beat.
"Obviously Albury comes straight after that and then we will see what happens after Friday."
The four-year-old gelding has some strong credentials for the Gold Cup with a mid-field finish in the Hobart Cup two starts ago and a second placing to Manion Cup winner Big Duke at his previous outing.
Cool Chap also finished second in the Sale Cup and fifth in Ballarat Cup last spring.
His most recent win was in the VRC St Leger at Flemington last April.
Coolcat Dancer, who ran third in the Canberra Cup, is also a confirmed runner in the Gold Cup.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Dark Eyes won the Canberra Cup and will step out in the Mornington Cup on Saturday.
Freedman said Tom Melbourne, who has not won since his Albury triumph 12 months ago, had suffered a setback in the Australian Cup at Flemington last start and probably won't race again until the Easter Cup at Caulfield.
The Gary Moore stable has ruled out an Albury start for Classic Uniform, who ran fourth in the Canberra Cup, with the four-year-old to stay in Sydney for the Neville Sellwood Stakes on Saturday.
Red Excitement is only a 50-50 chance of running for trainer Gerald Ryan, but 2015 winner Kourkam is returning with Luke Currie to ride.
Former French listed race winner Green Sweet is also an early acceptor for Goulburn trainer Jean Dubois.
The lightly raced six-year-old has had just one start on Australian soil for a second over 1900m at Randwick.
The Albury track is presently rated a good 4, but about 37mm of rain has fallen in last 24 hours.
More showers are predicted for Thursday before conditions clear on raceday.