BATHURST trainer Chris Frisby believes Our Uncle Sam is looking as good as he's ever been as he lines up for a shot at this Saturday's Group 2 Bendigo Pacing Cup.
The former Inter Dominion runner-up and recent Group 3 Shirley Turnbull Memorial winner will likely be one of the best backed hopes in a high quality event at Bendigo, where he goes out from a stacked back row of horses.
Career win number 22 came the way of Our Uncle Sam at the Boxing Day feature at Bathurst, with the city's leading standardbred quickly approaching his 100th career start.
Frisby said the upcoming race at Bendigo is bound to be a much tougher affair.
"The Shirley Turnbull was easier than it has been in the past, so that's something to keep in the back of the mind," he said.
"He still went very good and has pulled up good. In fact, I think he's going as good right now as back when he was running in the Inter Dominion.
"They'll know he's in it, hopefully."
Our Uncle Sam starts three wide on the back row, sandwiched by some of the other leading hopefuls in the race.
Emma Stewart's last start Victoria Breeders runner-up Fourbigmen sits to his inside and Basil Dooley's in-form Bettor Be The Bomb is on the other side, though this will be a step up in grade.
Also on the outside of the back row is the biggest threat to Our Uncle Sam - Anthony Butt's Regional Championship's winner Wolf Stride.
Jess Tubbs' Im Anothermasterpiece is another big threat after finishing a neck short of Bettor Be The Bomb last start.
Zac Phillips will be having his first drive on Our Uncle Sam.
Frisby has confidence in Phillips to make the right judgements and won't be giving a tonne of instructions for the $70,000 event.
"It's a very handy field and there's a few in there with the same amount of ability as him. There no Lochinvar Arts in there, which helps a little bit," he said.
"I'll just leave everything up to the driver. I don't know the horses down here as well as he does.
"It should be a good race. His form is surprising because he's come back a treat. He's working great."
This is the third start for Our Uncle Sam at Bendigo and his first visit to the track since his two-year-old season in the winter of 2016, where he claimed his second career win.
The race will start from 9.31pm on Saturday.
The other feature event on the cards at Bendigo is the Group 1 Maori Mile for trotters, where the Graham Bullock-owned Red Hot Tooth will be one of the leading chances.
Chances are scattered throughout the field, with Dance Craze and Always Ready likely to fight it out for favouritism.