MENANGLE trainer-driver Jarrod Alchin is confident Living Lord will lead and dictate the Inter City Pace final on Saturday night at Maitland Showground after gaining gate one for the $50,000 group 2 event.
Alchin was the big winner at Wednesday's draw and appears the best hope of upsetting favourite Scandalman, which drew gate 10, four wide on the second line.
The Victorian Derby winner, which finished almost 30 metres ahead of the field in his heat victory on Sunday, is likely to come in one because first emergency Eye Spy Lombo has the inside barrier on the second row.
Major Post was another impressive heat winner and has drawn gate two.
Alchin, though, has the gun gate as he chases a second Inter City Pace crown in three years. He won in 2010 with Goeslikell and believes Living Lord has the talent and barrier to repeat the feat.
"I'd be surprised if he got crossed from there," Alchin said of the crucial start to the 2422m race.
"He's got a lot of gate speed. We just haven't really asked him to use it yet, but we know it's there when we need it.
"I expect him to hold the front and dictate the race.
"Scandalman is obviously a very, very good horse and he's definitely going to be hard to beat.
"But, in saying that, we're going to be in front and he's going to have to come from the back."
Alchin was rapt with Living Lord's heat win and said "he still had a bit in the tank".
The draw is: Front line - 1. Living Lord (C3), 2. Major Post (C3), 3. Dynamite Denn Nee (C2), 4. Kobe Bryant (C3), 5. Beetson (C2), 6. Chisnall (C4). Second line - 7. Eye Spy Lombo (Emergency) (C4), 8. Losta Armbro (C4), 9. Bettor Sweet (C4), 10. Scandalman (C5), 11. Gotta Feeling (C4).
■ The Inter City Pace calcutta will be held at the Commercial Hotel at Morpeth from 7pm on Friday night.
Scandalman is sure to attract big offers in the auction.
■ Newcastle Harness Racing Club officials have pushed for the return of regular Saturday night TAB meetings via coverage slots on the Sky Racing 2 channel.
Harness Racing NSW chairman Graeme Campbell and chief executive Sam Nati visited Newcastle before Christmas and were asked to consider the concept.