RACING: Bundaberg trainer Tony Hess knows he faces a challenge to get into the winners circle again with Boxer.
A winner in his last start by more than nine lengths in the first meet of the year, the horse returns to the track today for the Bundaberg Catholic Schools Race Day.
But he faces a challenge.
A strong field has been released for the meet with 38 horses entered in the five races.
In particular, the Spotted Dog Tavern Benchmark 50 Handicap (1380), which Boxer is in, looks strong.
Hess said it would be tough with conditions different to the first race.
"He is stepping up in distance,” he said.
"He also has a bigger weight of 61kg which he deserves.”
Despite that, Hess is confident he can do well after also winning recently in Gladstone.
"He's the best of the chances in the race,” he said.
"It's not an easy race though.”
Standing in Boxer's way is the Mary Hassam-trained Shockwave, which has won twice in a row in Bundaberg.
The Bundy trainer will be aiming for three straight wins as she tests Shockwave at an increased distance.
Another local in the race is the Darryl Gardiner-trained Binesi.
"It's a pretty tough race for Binesi,” he said.
"He's out of form so we hope he can turn it around.”
Gardiner believes his better chance comes with Al's Briefs in the Bull Financial Group Open Handicap (1090m).
"He will race well,” he said.
"It's a tough but open race.”
The gelding has finished with a placing in his three races in Bundaberg, and has won twice.
Gardiner also has two other horses in the field with Craiglea Pistol in race 1 and Simple Showtime in race 4.
Gardiner is now hopeful of a win after missing out on one during the first meet last month.
The first race of the day starts at 1.10pm with gates opening to the public at 11am.