Rotorua Cup winner Pacorus is set to make his presence felt in Saturday's Orora Kiwi Packaging Kiwifuit Cup at Tauranga, according to Cambridge trainer Chris Wood.
Tavistock five-year-old gelding Pacorus has established himself among the country's best winter stayers and he ranks as the horse to beat in the 2100m feature, despite carrying 58kg.
"He's drawn an awkward alley in barrier 11, but he's thriving at the moment and with the rain forecast he'll get conditions to suit," Wood said.
"He's come through his last run pretty well. He's bright and he should go another good race."
A winner of eight of his 29 starts, including a streak of seven wins from 11 starts last year, Pacorus goes into the Kiwifruit Cup with impressive lead-up form in Cups races.
After finishing fourth in the Bay Of Plenty Cup, fourth in the Listed Hawke's Bay Cup and fifth in the Gr.2 Awapuni Cup, he won the Gr.3 Rotorua Cup and last start stuck on bravely for third in the Listed Wanganui Cup.
"We didn't really want to end up in front, but from barrier one we didn't want to end up buried three back on the fence either. We were hoping something would come around and give us a trail but that didn't happen," Wood said of the Wanganui run.
"But he's fought on pretty well and he gave the winner plenty of weight [6kg] and she's a pretty good horse too, Ladies First.
"He's very much in the race this weekend. He's a form horse and he's very well. His work has been good and we're really happy with him."
Wood said Pacorus was likely to tackle next month's Listed Taumarunui Gold Cup (2200m) at Rotorua before further thought was given to a possible late winter Australian campaign.
"We could look at Sydney or Melbourne and do something similar to what Megablast has done. It's a bit weaker over there this time of year."
Wood will also produce Wooden Edge on the undercard at Tauranga, happy to forgive his last-start failure at Wanganui.
"He's had two trips to Wanganui and hasn't fired either time. He copped a couple of checks in the straight too but he just never seemed comfortable there. He's well and the predicted rain at Tauranga should help him."