TONIGHT’s $30,600 Multiquip Golden Guitar Final at Tamworth is as strong as it has been in the Group 3 event’s history.
Three prominent trainers each have two runners in the Golden Guitar after five qualifying heats were held last Sunday, which ensured the strength of the series.
In fact, it is hard to find a favourite for the race with each runner being able to boast claims following their runs in their respective heats and their strong recent form.
Roy Roots Junior is quite bullish about his chances to win the Golden Guitar after his pacer Shadow Pass drew perfectly in barrier one for the 1980-metre trip.
Previous trainer Tim Varga won with Shadow Pass on November 19, which was a sign for him that a Golden Guitar was well within his sights.
Since then, the seven-year-old has won two races and finished second three times.
He rated a mediocre 2:01.4 in his heat win when stand-in driver Rob Morris was able to give him a soft run in front where he ran a slow 65.4 first half of the last mile.
Tonight, regular driver Tom Ison will be back in the gig and the local lad will no doubt gain a huge thrill should he be able to win his hometown feature.
Amanda Turnbull will have another crack at winning the race after she went frightfully close to taking out the Guitar last year, finishing second aboard Obe One, beaten by just a half head.
Turnbull will need some luck with her more-favoured runner, Balducci, which has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the second row.
The former New Zealander was impressive in winning his heat, rating 1:57.1.
Before that he was impressive in winning feature races at both the Dubbo and Parkes TAB Carnival of Cups meetings, running fast times and scoring by clear margins.
Hunter Valley horsemen Cameron Davies and Geoff Harding are the other trainers that have dual finalists engaged tonight.