Two horses with the potential to contest better races over the summer carnival will take another step in that direction at Mowbray on Wednesday night.
Lightly-raced five-year-old Coronation Keith will be out to add to his short but impressive record in the Benchmark 68 over 1400m and promising stayer The Risk Factor will be having his second run after a spell in the Benchmark 76 over 1600m.
The Siggy Carr-trained Coronation Keith has been to the races only four times for three wins and a minor placing behind the highly-rated And Beyond.
He was impressive winning first-up at Mowbray three weeks ago and has since easily beaten Take The Sit and And Beyond in a Longford barrier trial.
Carr rates the son of one-time Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune as "probably the smartest horse I've trained so far."
"He's exciting," she said. "He got the job done with a heavy weight (61.5kg) last start and he will improve off that run."
Carr said Coronation Keith was a late starter in racing which could work in his favour.
"We didn't get him until he was a late two-year-old and he was a little bit of a handful to get going," she explained.
"Mel Cotton did a lot of work with him and did a wonderful job because he used to buck and shy - he could do anything.
"But he's a lovely horse now, he's really grown up.
"I think the Puissance De Lunes are better with time so it could be a blessing."
STAYER COULD BE FACTOR IN CUPS
The Risk Factor emerged as a future cups prospect when he finished his last campaign with four successive wins over 2100m.
Trainer Adam Trinder wasn't expecting too much when the five-year-old resumed at Mowbray a fortnight ago but he battled on gamely to finish fourth to Sir Simon over an unsuitable distance.
"He's going well but I questioned him over 1400m," Trinder said. "He couldn't win a maiden over that distance.
"And he was resuming in a race just shy of open company so I don't know whether it was suitable but it was a good platform to kick him off in.
"His trackwork and trials suggested he would be competitive."
The step up to 1600m this week is still short of The Risk Factor's preferred distance but he did finish a handy fourth over that trip at his third run last time in.
BUSY SCHEDULE LIMITING NUMBERS
Five meetings in two weeks has resulted in only 82 acceptances for Mowbray on Wednesday night, which includes five emergencies.
An early scratching has left only five in the Rating 62 Handicap and there are six in the Benchmark 76 and seven in the Benchmark 68.
Tasmania had two thoroughbred meetings late last week and there are another two early next week - on Melbourne Cup day at Elwick and the following night at Mowbray.
Low numbers in the higher-grade races has been a problem for some time while a lot of horses continue to get balloted from maidens.
It's a frustration for owners and trainers and a dilemma for Tasracing.
Those with higher-grade horses are also entitled to get a run and, understandably, use the system to achieve that goal.
As a result, meetings are often left with some very unappealing small fields which must impact negatively on betting turnover and, ultimately, returns to the industry.
DRIVER ESCAPES FALL WITH BRUISING
Junior driver Bronte Miller was taken to hospital after a pre-race fall at Mowbray on Sunday night that led to the last two races being abandoned.
It was initially feared she may have broken a bone in her leg but Tasracing reported on Monday that she had sustained 'bone bruising'.
She was released from hospital on Monday morning.
Miller was dislodged from Stylish Trend in the early stages of the score-up for the second-last race which was due to start at 10 o'clock.
She was treated on the track by ambulance officers for about an hour which left only 30 minutes before the track lightning had to be turned off under the regulations governing Mowbray night racing.
Stewards considered there was insufficient time to run any more races if the track was to be cleared by the 11.30pm deadline.
Fellow junior driver Kayleb Williams was also taken to hospital after being dislodged from Island Rocknroll in the same incident.
He was released several hours later with swelling and bruising of the ribs.
Miller had won a race earlier in the night on Syzate to take her to 21 wins for the season.
She is second behind Jordan Chibnall on both the female and junior drivers' premierships.
GOOD DRAW FOR UNBEATEN POSH
Debut winner Just Posh has drawn a favourable box to give Dilston trainer Patrick Ryan his second George & Eileen Johnston Puppy Championship at Devonport on Tuesday.
The Aston Dee Bee bitch jumped from box 6 at her first start when she won her heat by a length from Wynburn Stroller and Keen in 25.74.
"She won well from a bad box last week and the red box will definitely suit her," said assistant trainer Brennan Ryan.
"We're hoping she can give us our second win in the race."
Patrick Ryan trained 2017 winner Hetti's Produce.
Just Posh's litter and kennel-mate Self Control is second reserve for the final.
Their mother Hoity Toity won 19 races.
STAR AMONG SEVEN CHASING $1M. BONUS
Mystic Journey and Still A Star are among 23 entries for the $1 million Empire Rose at Flemington on Saturday.
Seven of them, including Still A Star, are eligible for a $1 million bonus on top of the $600,000 first prize.
Mystic Journey is $5 second favourite and Still A Star is at $13.