FORTUNE didn't favour Toolleen's Rod Clark in last Friday night's Group 2 Bendigo Cup Final.
Clark's $34.80 outsider Wally Milne was cut out on the home turn when in a threatening position at Lord's Raceway.
However, Clark hasn't had to wait long for a shot at feature race redemption.
One night before Wally Milne's luckless sixth at Bendigo, Clark's talented middle distance specialist Apex Within, the winner of 28 of his 59 starts, produced the fastest qualifying performance in the heats of the Group 2 McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown Park.
"Wally Milne was right there in the Bendigo Cup, but unfortunately he had nowhere to go," Clark said
"He just needed a bit of room and he would've been there somewhere. You need everything going for you in these big races and, hopefully, we can redeem ourselves on Thursday night."
While Apex Within has won over all three distances at Sandown, Clark says the 595m of the $40,000 to-the-winner McKenna Memorial is ideal, with last Thursday's 33.98s heat victory his fourth success from seven starts over the course.
Apex Within also has breeding on his side, with his champion 'aunty' Xylia Allen having won the middle distance event in 2014.
"We were very excited to win the heat, but then a bit deflated when we saw the box draw," Clark said.
"I'd love to have an inside box. He's not blessed with early speed, so box eight will make it a bit tough, but we'll run for a bit of luck and hope the good Lord is looking down on us."
While Clark concedes the outside alley won't help, Apex Within is somewhat surprisingly a $16 outsider in TAB's McKenna Memorial market, with Robert Britton's dual Group 1 winner Neo Cleo the $2.50 favourite from box one.
Clark is no stranger to an elite middle distance performer, having won the Group 1 Hume Cup in 2011 with Shintaro Samurai, and he has no doubt Apex Within has what it takes.
"Shintaro Samurai was a great little dog, but Apex Within is lengths and lengths faster," Clark said.
"He's been a slow maturer, which is why we've raced him sparingly in town.
"It's been all about placing him where he can keep out of trouble up until this point.
"But now's the time to dip our toes in the water against the better dogs in the bigger races and hopefully, patience will pay off."
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