VICTORY would be sweet for Dean Mirfin in this Saturday's TAB Highway Handicap but all he wants to see from his two hopes in continued improvement in their bid for a Country Championships start.
Electrified starts his new preparation and Tale Of The Kraut is gunning for a third straight victory as the Bathurst-trained pair line up against a quality field in the $75,000 Sydney event.
A Highway Handicap start is always a tough task for any horse but with many other runners also eyeing off this Saturday's race as a stepping stone towards the Country Championships it's going to be a top-tier affair.
Following a trial win Mirfin is hopeful Electrified can build on the strong end to his previous venture on the turf.
"This is the kick off point and it's a good one to start him in. There's a few strong horses coming from different regions with the same sort of plan, I believe," he said.
"From now on the Highway races will get really strong over the next few weeks but Electrified's a really nice horse ... and we're excited to get him started.
"If the track's dry and he manages to run well - his first up record is not amazing - and can be around the top five then I'd be really pleased."
Electrified ended his latest campaign with a gutsy victory at Kembla Grange in October.
Tale Of The Kraut's been a shining light for Mirfin since joining the Bathurst stable but this will be her biggest test yet.
Her benchmark has shot up by 12 since his recent change in scenery and it has put him right in the frame for a Country Championships bid.
Mirfin is tempering expectations after drawing barrier 12 but said the mare shouldn't be written off.
"She's a progressive mare who's done a great job since she came here," he said.
"We haven't put a ceiling on how far she'll go. If she'd drawn a better alley then we'd be going down there a bit more confident with her.
"She does have good gate speed though and she's got a good rider (Jay Ford) on her back so he'll work it out as the race gets going."
The race is the second of the meeting at 1.30pm.