Keith Dryden thinks this Saturday's The Kosciuszko will be harder to scale and Handle The Truth's chances won't be helped if it rains.
The Canberra trainer is hoping to claim back-to-back wins with the defending Kosciuszko champion, but concedes the $1.3 million race will be "a fraction better" than last year.
Handle The Truth has won two Canberra trials since returning from the paddock, as well as finishing sixth in a Benchmark 88 Handicap at Royal Randwick.
That was his only race this preparation, with Dryden mimicking last year's successful Kosciuszko roadmap - heading into the race second-up.
Should the five-year-old gelding maintain that form, Dryden thinks he'll be a competitive chance.
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"He had a good spell and came back, he's had the one run which was very encouraging a fortnight ago. If he repeats that run, he'll be really competitive," Dryden said.
"The preparation is going well, I have got him as good as I can have him I think. We've done all the work, he'll have an easy four days before the run now.
"It'll be a harder race. I think this is probably a fraction better than last year. I think there's six really good chances at the top of betting, after that there's four strong each-way chances and a couple who don't really have a chance."
Handle The Truth sits third in the line of betting at $7 to win, behind Its Me ($3) and Front Page ($5). Matthew Dale's Man of Peace, who's won six races at Randwick, is fourth at $11.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a 40 per cent chance of shower for Sydney on Everest Day, with a heavy track to suit horses like Man of Peace.
Dryden hopes it'll hold off until Sunday, saying the son of Star Witness prefers a dry track.
"That's a negative for us. If we get rain, I think it will take two to two-and-a-half lengths off the horse," Dryden said.
"He's a lot better horse on top of the ground."
Nash Rawiller will retain the ride on Handle The Truth, having guided the gelding to victory last October.