TWO of the Border's best credentialled gallopers are set to go head-to-head at Flemington on Saturday.
Albury and Wodonga Gold Cup winner Willi Willi and Spunlago will renew their rivalry in the $125,000 3YO & Up Hcp, (1600m).
Only a half-a-head separated the pair in the Wodonga Cup in November with Spunlago having recently won the Ted Ryder Cup at Wagga in impressive fashion.
Willi Willi has had one start after his Wodonga triumph with a lacklustre performance at Pakenham early last month.
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Trainer Criag Widdison concedes he may have raced his stable star too soon considering Willi Willi generally performs best with his runs well-spaced.
Interestingly, the pair will travel down to Melbourne in the same float.
"I'm hoping I just backed the horse up too quickly and Willi Willi can return to form at Flemington," Widdison said.
"It was a disappointing performance at Pakenham to get beat by five lengths.
"But he seems well, we have thrown the blinkers on which is something I have been thinking about doing for a while.
"It's his third go at the mile this preparation and I can't get him any fitter.
"He can hit a flat spot in his runs if there is not much tempo, so I'm just hoping the blinkers sharpen him up in that regard."
Willi Willi will be partnered by Dean Yendall and is quoted as a $14-chance with Spunlago slightly shorter at $13.
Both horses are also down in the weights with Willi Willi allocated 55kg and Spunlago 1kg less.
"If you go back through his form he always seems to run well when he is down in the weights," he said.
"Heavenly Emperor won at Flemington on New Year's day and we beat that horse comfortably in the Wodonga Cup.
"So that gives me some extra confidence."