Young Mornington trainer Matt Laurie has two chances to break a frustrating city drought at Moonee Valley tonight.
In the city, Laurie has had 16 runners this season for two seconds, three thirds and three fourths.
He is relying on Banner in the $100,000 Moreton Hire Premium Hcp (1600m) and The Counterfeiter in the $55,000 Sprint Hcp 78 (955m) to halt the rot.
Banner is having his first city start after a solid win on a heavy track at Sale last start.
The three-year-old will race on a dry track for the first time after three race starts.
He won on debut at Bendigo on dead ground after producing a big finish in the straight.
Bookmakers can obviously see the rise in class and have Banner at $13 fixed price.
He will have to contend with the Peter Moody-trained odds on Brambles who easily won at Sandown-Hillside last start and is well regarded.
Nonetheless, Laurie says Banner has the ability to give it a shake.
Bookmakers believe The Counterfeiter, a $3 equal favourite with Lady Antebellium, has a better chance.
The Keep The Faith sprinter ran second at Moonee Valley last start behind Rescue Mission, when on the pace throughout .
Laurie has Katelyn Mallyon aboard claiming three kilograms from the allotted 58kg.
From barrier one, it should get the run of the race.
Laurie is considered a most promising trainer whose provincial strike rate speaks for itself.
He has trained 11 winners from just 34 runners with an impressive strike rate of 32.35 per cent.
That strike rate is the best of any trainer around the country and it comes from a stable of just 23 horses.
“We are going well in the bush and we’ve been around the mark in town,” Laurie said.
If no success comes out of Moonee Valley, hope will switch to The Big Steel at Caulfield in the $70,000 Carpet Call Handicap tomorrow.
The grey is second up after a spell and has won six of 19 starts.
Last season Laurie trained seven city winners.
He has high autumn hopes for two promising two-year-olds The Travelling Man and Lamingtons.