UNFORTUNATELY I haven't got a runner in the Wodonga Cup this year but I'm still eagerly anticipating today in what shapes as a fascinating race.
The Wodonga and District Turf Club committee should be congratulated on how it has transformed the cup meeting.
By all reports it should be the biggest crowd ever at Wodonga and the track is looking as good as I have ever seen it.
The cup itself looks to be highly competitive and after studying the form I've whittled the field down to five winning hopes.
I've settled on Heavenly Emperor, Starouz, Spunlago, Willi Willi and Wyangle.
Outside the top hopes, it appears to be one of those races where any horse could run a place without surprising.
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The Stephen Brown-trained Heavenly Emperor is the pre-post favourite at $3.20 and I agree looks the testing material.
Heavenly Emperor ticks a lot of boxes in that he is in form, down in the weights and likes to race on the speed and make his own luck.
The four-year-old gelding has drawn the inside gate and it's hard to see him not getting the perfect run.
Frankly Harvey looks the likely leader, with Starouz and Lady Mironton also pushing forward from her wide gate.
Heavenly Emperor and Free Fly Too should sit just off the pace and both get the most economical trip in the race.
Starouz looks the biggest danger to Heavenly Emperor and has been racing ultra consistently.
Similar to Heavenly Emperor, Starouz will race handy and was a last-start winner at Morphettville Parks which is a strong form line coming into a Wodonga Cup.
The Mick Price-trained gelding also loves racing over a mile and has three wins and three minor placings from seven starts over his pet distance.
I know Spunlago is at huge odds at $21 but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he improved sharply here and caused a boilover.
Trainer Ron Stubbs is an astute horseman and his stable star recently won the Southern District Racing Association's Horse of the Year.
Spunlago is on the quick back-up after running in last Sunday's Kilmore Cup at Seymour and wasn't beaten all that far after being forced to go back from a wide draw.
The eight-year-old gelding was one of the hard luck stories of last year's cup when running fourth but will need his fair share of luck again after drawing awkwardly.
Willi Willi is another one at bolter's odds who could win if he recaptured his best form.
Trained on the track by Craig Widdison, I've been keeping an eye on Willi Willi in track work and he certainly looks sharp enough to run a big race.
His stablemates Wyangle and Ruby Skye have been unlucky at their past couple of starts and are also winning hopes.
Hopefully one of the Border trainers win the race, because they are more of a chance of putting some money over the bar than those out of town trainers.