AS THE hours countdown to tonight’s opening Inter Dominion heats at Alexandra Park, Rickie Alchin’s nerves are beginning to kick in but so too is his confidence.
Without underestimating the monumental task at hand, Alchin has enormous faith in his quality trotter, Tough Monarch.
A recent Group One winner against similar company, Tough Monarch is in top condition according to the Aussie horseman.
“He has come through Christchurch perfectly and is still at that level,” Alchin said. “He’s on top of the world.
“In fact, I couldn’t be happier with him going into the first heats.
“He is exactly where I want him going into the opening night of the Inter Dominion.”
To be driven by Anthony Butt, Tough Monarch is poised to contest the second qualifier where he has drawn wide in barrier seven.
The short-priced favourite Marcoola will begin from the pole.
“It probably looks a touch wider on paper than it is as he begins better out wide,” Alchin said. “He has led from that wide around Menangle and Melton for example.
“I’m not giving Ants any instructions, he can way it up the start…get a feel for it when the mobile goes and make his move from there.
“The favourite is definitely the one to beat especially from that draw.”
Having contested last season’s Melbourne Inter Dominion, Alchin believes Tough Monarch will be better equipped for his pending assignment.
“We took a lot out of last year’s series,” Alchin said. “We are both familiar with the racing and what to do between runs.
“Hopefully we will get a bit of luck tonight and then maintain him through the series.”