Louth Park trainer Melanie Elder hopes a better draw can help Ashark step up in a tougher Golden Guitar Final (1980m) featuring four Hunter chances at Tamworth on Thursday night.
Ashark was third in the final last year when it was a $25,000 event at listed level. The race has been elevated to group 2 ($50,000) status.
Despite the rise in class, Ashark was a strong heat winner on Sunday. Elder's brother, Brad, gave Ashark a sit behind the leaders on the pegs before the five-year-old produced a winning run from the back straight.
The combination are hoping for a repeat in the final after drawing gate seven, the inside of the second line. Last year, Ashark was taken to last from a wide draw and he came three-wide the last lap.
"It's probably that bit better of a draw this year," Melanie said. "He can follow the one [Battle Chimes] out and probably get a nice easy run on the pegs.
"It's not really his go out wide. He's better with a quiet run so the draw is in our favour this year. He won from seven on Sunday so hopefully it plays out like that again."
Ashark was a $26 chance with the TAB and the long-shot of the Hunter-trained quartet.
Nulkaba trainer Clayton Harmey has the best chance, Wet My Whistle ($4.40), which has gate four.
Wet My Whistle, a full brother to group 1 performer Hug The Wind, took his unbeaten Australian record to five with an all-the-way heat win on Sunday.
It was a relief for Harmey, who was concerned about a lack of fitness before the heat. Owner Allan McColl wanted to race Wet My Whistle after it became clear a few weeks earlier that New Zealand-bred horses were eligible to compete.
"He's got it against him tomorrow but he's good, I worked him this morning, and I wouldn't swap for him any other horse in it," Harmey said.
"He's a hard horse to train. When Allan bought him from New Zealand I thought he was very ordinary, and then he went to Bankstown and won by 60 metres.
"But he just shows you nothing, he's a tiny thing, but he's bred to be a champion.
"I would have liked to draw one or two but we're there, it's a race I've always wanted to win and if we don't this year, we'll be back again next year trying.
"He's got bigger fish to fry. He'll get to metropolitan grade and win, but just the prestige of this race, to win for Allan after what he's done for me in such a short time, that would be great."
Harmey believed Roll With Lachlan ($7), from gate three for Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding, was a threat after his second to Wet My Whistle on Sunday. Sawyers Gully trainer Cameron Davies has heat winner Battle Chimes ($18) from one.