The task of claiming back-to-back titles in Wednesday’s Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton has become a hefty one for Howmuchdoyouloveme.
The four-year-old has been allocated the topweight of 60.5kg, which is three kilograms more than fellow multiple stakes winners Adebisi, River Lad and Skytrain who have all been given 57.5kg.
It represents a 6.5kg rise in weight from the 54kg the front-runner carried as a three-year-old to win the race by four lengths last year.
Since then he has won October’s Group 2 Caulfield Sprint as well as the Listed Lightning Handicap and the Group 3 Healy Stakes at Brisbane’s winter carnival.
Howmuchdoyouloveme is in for an intriguing speed battle with Adebisi, with both horses natural leaders.
Adebisi, trained by Desleigh Forster at Eagle Farm, will run first-up in the Ramornie after an impressive autumn campaign.
The five-year-old speedster won both the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes and the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap as well as being a respectable fifth placegetter in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
The son of Shovhog appears to have got in well at the weights given he boasts four black-type victories and has won more than $650,000 in prizemoney.
Another galloper expected to be a key challenger to the topweight is River Lad who was third in the race last year.
The consistent five-year-old is a dual stakes winner and made Howmuchdoyouloveme fight all the way to the finishing post when second in the Healy Stakes two weeks ago.
In form and set to carry the minimum weight of 54kg is Donn Robb-trained gelding Big Bonanza who has been set for the race and was a dominant three-length winner at Rosehill on Monday.