Sydney trainer Jarrod Alchin has made his presence felt in Tamworth by securing three spots in the $40,000 Multiquip Golden Guitar Final.
The five heats of the Golden Guitar were contested on Sunday at the Tamworth Paceway with an ecstatic Alchin winning three of them.
"This year is our best chance yet - three chances really," Alchin said.
"All my runners made it through to the final so that was a good start."
One of Alchin's runners was raced by his wife Stephanie while the other two were raced by former Armidale locals Scott Whitton and Jodie Foster who race under the name of Tumby Park.
"Every year Scott tells me he would love to win the Golden Guitar - it would be like winning a Group 1 race for him," Alchin said.
Tumby Park races Aqua Sancta and Delightful Dude with the former leading the winning trifecta for the stables.
Aqua Sancta came away with a 7.8-metre win in taking out the Multiquip Poultry Golden Guitar Heat 2, driven by in-form Sydney reinsman Cameron Hart.
Tamworth pacer Overthemoon (Tom Ison) was next while Gottashopearly (Josh Gallagher) was 10.5 metres away in third in a mile rate of 1.57.5
Hart was making his first visit to the Tamworth Pacing carnival and produced three superb drives.
"The horse did a good job and it's not easy coming from behind but lucky enough there was a bit of pace on in the race," Hart said.
"I landed a good spot early in the race and was very confident - the horse came home with a strong finish."
"I always like driving for Jarrod as he has some nice horses and it would be a good start to the season to win a feature race like the Golden Guitar final first up."
Delightful Dude then stepped out in the Multiquip Engineering Golden Guitar Heat 3, also under the hands of Hart, for a win in a mile rate of 1.58.5 over 1980 metres.
"The race worked out well for us," Hart said.
"They put the brakes on pretty quick up front and I was able to whip around them and control the race."
Hart made a bold move with Delightful Dude in the first lap placing in a three-wide run around the field to gain the lead before coming away for a 2.8-metre win over Hunter Valley pacer Johnson Step (Grace Panella) from the Clayton Harmey stables and Sydney pacer Bella Clare trained by Michael Xuereb and driven by his son Nathan.
The third win for the Alchin and Hart partnership came when Just A Little Bit won the Multiquip Aggregates Golden Guitar Heat 4 for Alchin's wife Stephanie.
"The horse went as good as the other two horses," Alchin said of Just A Little Bit.
"He had to do a lot of work in the first lap and he just found a way to win.
"That was his first race start in a month and we are happy about the win."
Just A Little Bit held a 2.5-metre win over Boyzhavtime (Robbie Morris) and Dunrobbin (2.9 metres away third in a mile rate of 1.58.2
Alchin will remain in Tamworth and train out of the Lesley Jeffriess stables for the week.
"I have been coming up here for five years and always stay at Lesley's stables. It has been terrific; she can't do enough for us," he said.
Alchin is hopeful this could be the year he claims the Golden Guitar final as a trainer.
"It will be another one ticked off my bucket list - it is a prestigious race to win," Alchin said.
With five heats contested, Hunter Valley trainer and reinsman Michael Formosa won the remaining two heats with Ultimate Force and Military Man.
Local contenders to make the final were the Andy Ison-trained Overthemoon and the Dean Chapple-trained Asterism.
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