TRAINER Norm Loy is banking on the Mathew Cahill factor delivering him his first $150,00 SDRA Country Championship qualifier victory with Waiting For A Mate.
Cahill is regarded as the best big race jockey in the district and is a multiple winner of the Albury Cup.
Loy said he was brimming with confidence after Cahill chose Waiting For A Mate as his mount in the $150,000 feature after being inundated with offers from rival trainers.
"I was ecstatic when Matty told me and I thought to myself 'Geez, how goods this', Loy said.
"The biggest thing is Matty could of nearly got the ride on any runner in the race that he wanted to.
"And to choose my horse - it fills you full of confidence.
"One of the best jockeys around and he picks the Mate.
"He's three from three on the horse so he knows the horse and it gives you a winning edge."
Loy said there appeared to be no standout for the lucrative feature with the first two horses qualifying for the $500,000 final at Randwick on April 6.
"I think there is a query on most horses in the race," he said.
"There is a couple in there that have been there before but they are a year older now," he said.
"You get to a stage where the young and up and coming horses overtake you.
"Donna's (Scott) horse is very strong and has been there and done it before.
"Donna is a friend of mine and I don't want her to take it the wrong way but you have to query the preparation of Bennelong Dancer.
"Sure its been swimming well and whatever else but you always have to query trial form going into a race."
Loy said fitness won't be an issue for Waiting For A Mate.
The four-year-old resumed with two successive wins on his home track in December and January.
The flashy grey then had two unplaced runs at Flemington and Moonee Valley.
"My horse is rock-hard fit," Loy said.
"He can only benefit from those two hit-outs in town against better opposition.
"I thought he was extremely stiff not to get closer to them at the Valley."
Loy said by racing in town at his two most recent starts, Waiting For A Mate had snuck under the guard of the handicapper and will only carry 56 kilograms.
"If he won another race he probably would have got 57½ kilograms so to be carrying 56kg is a luxury," he said.
"1½ kgs can make a heck of a difference."
Waiting For A Mate has drawn well in barrier seven and likes to settle close to the pace.
Bennelong Dancer is the pre-post favourite at $4.20.
Narrowly in front of Forever Newyork at $4.60. Waiting For A Mate is a $14 chance.
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