Country trainer Mark Schmetzer hopes a win by Majestic Pedrille in the Highway Handicap at Randwick will pave the way for the Kosciuszko next year.
The Muswellbrook trainer was disappointed not to make Saturday's $1.3 million Kosciuszko with either Love None or Majestic Pedrille.
"We're hoping for the best. It would be good to win as it was our plan B to the Kosciuszko," Schmetzer told AAP.
"Majestic Pedrille's work has been the best ever. I couldn't fault her. She hasn't raced on a heavy track but has raced her best races on soft. She's bred for heavy."
The five-year-old is by champion Lonhro who won eight from none starts on soft tracks and was place at his two stars on heavy.
The mare has had four starts on soft tracks for a third and two wins, the latest on her home track in early September.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting an 80 per cent chance of rain at Randwick on Saturday and the track rating sits at a heavy 9 on Friday.
Schmetzer has stables near Muswellbrook Racetrack, with the area one of the worst hit during the NSW drought.
"It's taken a toll on everyone," he said.
He said recent rain gave relief and they were lucky the track hadn't been affected but feed prices had shot up.
"Everything's gone up a lot. Someone told me feed was nearly up 300 per cent," he said.