NORTH Albury trainer Ian "Oscar" Livermore concedes Carla Clare will have to go to another level if successful in Friday night's Albury Pacers Cup.
The talented mare is chasing back-to-back victories in the $15,000 feature after winning in track record time last year.
This year's cup has attracted the strongest field for several seasons with a host of Victorian raiders targeting the Border's richest harness race.
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The David Aiken-trained Shelby Bromac looks the testing material after sitting parked in last weeks Echuca Cup and finishing a gallant second.
Brallos Pass will be aiming for a third cup after going back-to-back in 2017-18.
The Amanda Turnbull-trained duo of Think About Me and The Crimson Prince also boast their fair share of ability.
"There's no doubt that it is a lot stronger field than last year," Livermore said.
"Credit to the club it's a cracking field really, as it should be for your premier race.
"For a start you have got the three past winners in my horse and Brallos Pass.
"Shelby Bromac and Brallos Pass both placed in the Echuca Cup last weekend which looks the strongest form race.
"Amanda's two horses both raced in a $30,000 final at Melton on Hunter Cup night and also have an undeniable chance."
Carla Clare is a proven performer on the country cups circuit with the Albury Cup winner also claiming this year's Leeton Cup and finishing an unlucky second in the Temora Cup.
The six-year-old mare also loves the marathon 2570m trip.
Carla Clare finished near the tail of the field in a $100,000 race at Melton at her most recent start.
"My mare is always ultra-competitive in the country cups and loves the longer journey," he said.
"She was strong in the Leeton Cup and run a good race in the Temora Cup.
"I had to head to Melton for her last start because she is a 97-rater and it's hard to find a suitable race locally.
"But she will be there giving her best in the cup tonight and I will be watching from the sidelines, wishing and hoping."
Carla Clare has drawn gate eight and will be partnered by regular driver Cameron Maggs.
"I can't remember the last time she had a front-row draw," he said.
"Tactically I'll leave it up to Cameron how best to drive her.
"There is no use me trying to be an expert when I will be just sitting up in the grand stand watching.
"I think she is going as well as this time last year, she just faces a lot tougher field."