Jamie Bullard has the mount on Natuzzi in the White Robe Lodge Handicap at Wingatui on Saturday in a bid to win the race for a fifth time.
Trainer Paul Richards had to seek a replacement rider when Chris Johnson opted for The Diamond One.
Natuzzi was beaten a neck by Irish Fling in the Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham at his last start. on January 18. He ran second to Durham Town in the Stewards' Handicap (1200m) at Riccarton in November, the first of his four starts this season.
Richards has freshened Natuzzi.
''I haven't done much (work) with him since Trentham. He did three quarter pace this morning and I am happy with his condition,'' Richards said yesterday.
Natuzzi staged a big late run for second to Ric O'Shea in the White Robe 12 months ago, the last time he raced over 1600m. He raced keenly and came from back in the field.
Bullard has won the White Robe on Volronamo (2004), Jack Be Nimble (2005) and Hold It Harvey (2010 and 11).
Meanwhile, Include will wear blinkers in the Dunedin Guineas on Saturday.
Include easily won the Guineas Trial at Wingatui two starts back but she only battled for eighth in the Gore Guineas.
Apprentice Courtney Barnes has retained the mount on the Brian and Shane Anderton-trained Include. The most recent filly to win the Dunedin Guineas was Miss Millbrook in 2009. The Anderton stable won the Guineas with the filly, Perceptible in 2000.
Emerald Queen will wear blinkers in the $70,000 White Robe Lodge Handicap. She was an impressive winner over the distance, 1600m, at Riccarton early in December.
- The Southland Times