Just a day after a rare defeat, Adore Me's harness racing season is looking up again after last night's barrier draw for the Auckland Trotting Cup.
The champion mare was surprisingly beaten as a redhot favourite in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on Sunday, run down late into second by Vansumic, after being three wide for much of the race.
However, that could soon be forgotten because after drawing perfectly at barrier two she will now start favourite in Friday night's $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup.
The decision to make the trip back from Sydney and line-up in the Cup looks inspired as she was one of the few favourites for the great race to draw well, with Terror To Love off the second line at barrier 11, along with Pembrook Benny (13) and Easy On The Eye (10).
Another big winner in the draw was southern up-and-comer Saveapatrol (1), who caught the eye with his bold fourth on his Alexandra Park debut last Friday.
Adore Me now looks certain to open favourite with the TAB for the Cup, for which she is one of six horses returning from racing in Sydney on Sunday.
While that sounds taxing, the first three home in last season's Cup - Themightyquinn, Terror To Love and Bettor Cover Lover - all did the same.
Giant 3-year-old Locharburn is guaranteed favouritism for the $250,000 Woodlands Derby on Friday night after drawing the ace for the classic.
He is expected to improve even after winning the prelude last Friday and could be as short as $2 in the fixed odds markets.
Sires' Stakes winner Tiger Tara has drawn alongside him in two but Victoria Derby winner Maxim will be forced to start from the outside of the front line in the seven-horse field.
The Cup is on earlier than usual at 8.25pm and the Derby at 9.55pm on the 12-race programme, which also hosts the Cardigan Bay Stakes and Delightful Lady Stakes.
The fields for the two features are:
Trillian Trust Auckland Trotting Cup, $250,000, 2700m - Saveapatrol (1), Adore Me (2), Jivin Cullen (3), Jason Rulz (4), Fly Like An Eagle (5), Mah Sish (6), Pass Them By (7), Besotted (8), Elusive Chick (9), Easy On The Eye (10), Terror To Love (11), Lets Elope (12), Pembrook Benny (13), Averil's Quest (14). Emergency: Jivin Cullen.
Woodlands Northern Derby, $250,000, 2700m - Locharburn (1), Tiger Tara (2), Cyclone Prince (3), Sky Major (4), Threestones (5), Aldo Rossi (6), Maxim (7).