BENDIGO trainers will have a strong hand in Saturday's $25,000 Marong Cup.
A small field of nine starters for the 2200m feature will include three Bendigo-trained runners.
Dual Group 3-winner Shane Fliedner will saddle up his first Marong Cup runner with Queen Guinevere, while in-form trainer Rod Symons and Danny Curran will pin their respective hopes on Bedouin King and Davelliom.
With four wins and nine placings among her 33 starts, Fliedner said Queen Guinevere was capable of running a good race and showing good improvement on her last start sixth over 2400m at Moonee Valley.
"We rode her a little bit different last time, there was no speed in the race at Moonee Valley and the opportunity presented to go forward," he said.
"We had a feeling that up on the speed maybe wouldn't suit her and that eventuated of course.
"You have to try. I do think she's a chance in this race.
"I'd be surprised if (the Peter Moody-trained) Shepard wasn't the favourite and probably should win. He hasn't got great form, but it should be enough for this."
Queen Guinevere, who has drawn barrier one and will be ridden by Fliedner's nephew Harry Coffey, will be chasing her first race win since going back-to-back at Swan Hill and Wangaratta respectively in September and November last year.
Fliedner will have one other runner on the eight-race card, Ultimate Man in the 1300m maiden.
Symons is hoping Bedouin King, a winner of only one of his 18 career starts, can build on a respectable third over 2010m at his last start at Kilmore on February 4.
A first Marong Cup win would add to an already successful week for the long-time trainer, whose exciting three-year-old Kaniva scored a win on debut at Kyneton on Tuesday.
Symons has mixed feelings concerning the five-year-old gelding's chances.
"He might be a bit out of his depth, but these horses are not here because they are absolutely flying, it's only a $25,000 race," he said.
"They're here because they want to run on a good track and get themselves into some winning form.
"We hope that we can run a place or be thereabouts."
Bedouin King will benefit from a 1.5kg claim for apprentice Laura Lafferty, who has been riding in excellent form this season with 36 wins and 51 placings.
Curran has enjoyed good success on past Marong Cup days, most recently with Welcome Stryker, who won races in 2018 and '19.
A long-time strong supporter of the Marong Racing Club, he would like nothing more than to snare a Cup win with Davelliom.
"He's a horse that we were hoping to make into a real 3000m horse, but he didn't stay his last two starts, so he's back to a more suitable trip," he said.
"He's been a bit disappointing, but he's in the race firstly because it's at home and secondly, I'd love a Marong Cup and I love supporting the club and the Marong concept.
"It's not the strongest race, so we'll be interested to see how he goes.
"I've taken the blinkers off him to see if that will allow him to settle further up the field as he has been dropping out too much in his races.
"I'm not saying he's winning a race like this, but it is nice to have a runner."
An added interest for Curran on Cup day will be the performance of his daughter Anne Maree's maiden galloper Delivid in the second division of the 1300m maiden.
The four-year-old gelding was previously trained by Rod Symons and will be chasing his first win at start number 11.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.