THERE'S battles across the park in every Gold Chalice and Bracelet heat this Monday at Bathurst Paceway but one race in particular shapes up as an exciting duel.
The fourth of the night's Gold Chalice Heats (2,260 metres) is shaping up as a two horse tussle for the victory between Amanda Turnbull's Sonny Weaver and Emma Stewart's Mach Dan.
Mach Dan has had the measure of Sonny Weaver in their meetings so far, which includes last year's Gold Crown Final (third versus sixth) and the recent NSW Derby (fifth versus sixth), but Turnbull should fancy her chances of scoring some revenge.
That's because the draw for Monday's upcoming race has been the great leveller for the pair.
Sonny Weaver gets the dream draw from the inside gate and it gives him the potential to dictate how the race is run, while Mach Dan might have to do some early work to get up the front - especially if anyone else between the pair shows early speed.
Turnbull knows all too well what Mach Dan is capable of having driven him during last year's Gold Crown Carnival campaign.
"It'd have to be one of the strongest heats, and the form going into it is really good, with both of them having raced in the derby. They've performed very well and Sonny Weaver got some great credentials racing around here," Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said.
There's a stack of other hopes to watch in the chalice heats, including Anthony Butt's NSW Derby runner-up Perfect Stride and David Miles' in-form Focus Stride.
Dr Susan will be the filly everyone will be keeping their eyes on during the Gold Bracelet Heats.
After coming up short in her bid to do the Victoria and NSW Oaks double Dr Susan is still certain to start a red hot favourite for her heat, and will likewise do the same for the final should she qualify.
"Perfect Stride comes into his race in excellent form with two wins and a second from his last three starts and he's the highest rated horse in the race and the national rating system," Dwyer said.
"Percy Bailey went into the derby with some great form ... and it will be interesting to see how Mistery Road goes with a new trainer, Craig Cross, after coming over from John Boserio. Focus Stride has sensational form and looks the pick of them in his heat.
"When you look across the ratings for all the runners Dr Susan is the highest rated runner of the day - at 91 - so she's pretty much up to free for all class if she was racing in those. She's the best credentialed horse."