The 2014 Fred Best Classic is not the feature race at Doomben on Saturday, but is set to be the most exciting; with sixteen talented gallopers as well as three emergencies included in the acceptances for the Group 3 event.
Dothraki will wear the number one saddlecloth in the Fred Best Classic and is taking winning form into the event after recording a narrow victory in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) at the Gold Coast on May 3.
The Mossman colt has performed well in all three starts this preparation, but may need a bit of luck to record his second straight win on Saturday after drawing barrier 12 for the Group 3 event.
Safeguard finished second behind Dothraki in the Gold Coast Guineas and will have the opportunity to turn-the-tables on the Gerald Ryan-trained colt in the Fred Best Classic this weekend.
Safeguard (barrier 11) started his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a disappointing performance in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, but looks to have returned to a semblance of the top form that he showed when he took out both the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) and Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) last year.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2014 Fred Best Classic field is Phillip Stokes-trained Hucklebuck, who will be returning to the races after a stint in the spelling paddock.
Hucklebuck (barrier seven) started his autumn campaign with two strong wins in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on February 1 and the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15 and started the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) as favourite at Flemington on March 1, but failed to run out a strong mile and finished a disappointing eighth.
One of the leading locally-trained chances in the 2014 Fred Best Classic field is Hopfgarten, who will be chasing his fifth straight win and his second victory at Group level.
Hopfgarten (barrier four) has worked through the grades during his autumn campaign and stamped himself a genuine Group level contender with an impressive win in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 26, but trainer Robert Heathcote admits that he may be outpaced against such a strong field over 1350 metres this weekend.
Heathcote also Olympic Anthem (barrier 17) in the 2014 Fred Best Classic final field, while other locally-trained gallopers Into The Red (barrier eight), Voodoo Blue Magic (barrier one), Friendly Dragon (barrier 18), Palmera Lad (barrier 14), Enquare (barrier 13), Queen Of The Lochs (barrier 15), Splendora (barrier six) and Miss Husson (barrier nine) are also set to contest the race.