KEITH DRYDEN is hoping that one of his two charges can take out the feature race at Thoroughbred Park on Sunday.
Room To Boom and Eye Of The Needle will both represent the Dryden stable in the Canberra Labor Club Benchmark 70 Handicap over 1200 metres.
The race will be hotly contested with several other classy local gallopers lining up in the feature event.
These include the Matt Dale-trained Shoot Thru Blu, Party Dress from the Bernie Howlett team and the Neville Layt stablemates Our Brightest Star and One More Grand.
Dryden is confident that both his charges will be in the finish, but he cannot split the two and has advised punters to take the one at better value.
''It would all depend on what the betting is. You wouldn't want to take $2 about one if the other horse is paying $7,'' Dryden said.
''Room To Boom's getting near the end of his preparation, and the other horse [Eye Of The Needle] is fresher, but it could go either way.
''I don't think there's too much between them.''
Room To Boom has been consistent of late, having alternated between first and second place finishes over his past four starts.
If that trend continues, the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding will be saluting the judge.
''He's been going pretty consistently. We've just kept him around the sprinting distances since I got him and he seems to be going OK,'' Dryden said.
''He's probably getting near the end of his preparation now - he's had quite a few runs - but he seems to be working OK and hopefully he'll race well again on Sunday.''
Eye Of The Needle tasted success 23 days ago in his last start at Thoroughbred Park, but the Pins gelding faces a field of more depth and will also carry more weight.
The Dryden-trained galloper, however, has an imposing record over the 1200-metre trip with all six of his career wins coming over that distance.
Eye Of The Needle will once again be partnered by apprentice hoop Kayla Cross following their last-start win together, with Dryden expecting the five-year-old to be primed for the race.
''He's a horse that tends to race well fresh, so I've given him a bit of time in the paddock for a little while to freshen him up,'' the Canberra trainer said.
''I also expect him to race well on Sunday.''