THE $170,000 Albury Gold Cup on Friday will be one of the smallest fields in the race's 135-year history with only 10 horses accepting.
The field is the smallest since Albury Racing Club chief executive officer John Miller started in the role 12 years ago and six short of a full complement of runners.
But the race has attracted starters from some of Australia's biggest stables including Gai Waterhouse, who is yet to win the race, Peter Moody, David Hayes and Lee Freedman from an original 27 nominations.
Mr Miller said a perfect storm of factors had conspired against the race this year including falling the day before the Golden Slipper in Sydney and no fortnight gap from the Victorian long weekend.
He admitted having reservations about this year's race when the club was allocated its date more than a year ago.
But Mr Miller said the club remained committed to the March timeslot.
"Ideally you would like a full field," he said.
"But the club made the decision many years ago for the race to be a quality handicap.
"It is certainly a quality handicap and not a quantity handicap and is what you get some years.
"Eighteen months ago I was thinking it could be worse.
"We looked at other options, but we just knew we had to stick fat and ride through this year."
Border District trainers were missing from the final acceptances taken early Tuesday and have elected to chase success in other races during the two-day carnival beginning on Thursday.
Wagga-trained duo High Opinion, who ran unplaced in the Corowa Cup on Sunday, and Mr Sommerville and Tumut galloper Go Get 'Em round out the cup field.
High Opinion is also a final acceptor in the Adrian Ledger Memorial.
Last start Canberra Cup winner Hippopus is looming as Waterhouse's best chance to win the Gold Cup and will challenge impressive Flemington winner Tom Melbourne for early race favouritism.
Sydney-based form analyst Chris Scholtz said trainers were spoilt with options this year.
"There are also a couple of classy horses, Tom Melbourne, Hippopus and Tashbeeh, and opposing trainers probably looked at the field and thinking we are biting off a bit more than we can chew taking on these other good horses," he said.