HE'S driven in and placed in the Oberon Cup in the past, but come Friday night Mat Rue will chase success in the feature with members of his own team for the first time.
It was in 2008 that Rue first steered a runner in the Oberon Cup, the then concession driver landing third place with Lace And Whiskey for his father-trainer Ken.
Since then Rue has driven in five more Oberon Cups and placed twice - in 2010 aboard Surfing Star and last year with Mr Heywood - but each time he has been in the gig for another trainer.
Now, Rue finally has his own shot. Well make that a double shot as he's entered Foroeight and Misterfreeze in the 2,260 metres feature.
Foroeight's record at his home track is impressive as across his 36 starts not only has he picked up 16 victories, but he's only failed to run in the top three on six occasions. He also holds a track record 1:52.2 mile rate.
HIs most recent effort at the Bathurst Paceway was a third in the Group 3 Shirley Turnbull Memorial which was over the longer 2,795m trip and last Sunday he ran an impressive second at Goulburn.
He'll go from barrier six in the Oberon Cup.
"He went great at Goulburn, all credit to the winner though, I had my chances and couldn't quite get him," Rue said.
"I did feel the horse needed the run leading into that, he had an easy time after the Shirley Turnbull. That being over 2,800 I thought he needed a rest after that and we backed off a bit. I did feel he was a bit short of a run heading into Goulburn, but the run was super.
"He's come through that run really good and I think he's come on a bit since, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how he goes."
Misterfreeze heads into the Oberon Cup after a pair of third placings at Menangle and given just six runners will line up for the feature, Rue rates him as chance as well. He has drawn barrier four.
"Misterfreeze's form down at Menangle lately has been faultless really. The distance doesn't worry him and the small field will help him too, he won't be far from them," he said.
"Misterfreeze can actually do a bit of work in races too, I think he'll get a good trip there being a small field and I'm expecting him to run a good race in it."
Having won the Inter Dominion Consolation in 2018 and picked up four victories at Group level, the Amanda Turnbull trained and driven Ellmers Image shapes as one of the biggest threats in what Rue calls a small but solid field.
Though Fouroeight finished ahead of him at Goulburn, Ellmers Image's sixth placing was still a handy effort given he was having his first start since June 26, 2020.
On top of that, Turnbull is the most successful driver in the history of the Oberon Cup with six victories.
"Amanda's horse Ellmer, at his best this is a drop in class for him and his run at Goulburn was quite good too. I'm pretty sure Amanda will be happy how he went first up," Rue said.
"Ellmers Images' best form would stack up massive against my bloke, so it should be a really good race."
However, as Rue sees it every runner in the field has a realistic shot at winning.
"Pretty much every horse in the field has got some kind of chance I feel, Maximus Red's run the other day at Goulburn was good, Kanena Provlima's form at Menangle is quite solid and Aphorism, he's always competitive in any race," he said.
"It's crazy how often the Oberon trainers get a win on the night, I know that the Reynolds boys are always training winners on this night. I know Justin is only driving Kanena, but he'll be doing his absolute best to get a win up, that's for sure.
"It's a small field, but everyone can run a bit."
The Oberon Cup is set for 8.03pm Friday night.