The Eureka Stockade at Ballarat has been at the forefront of Matthew Williams’ planning for lightly raced Raymond’s Reward.
When pouring over the calendar for a suitable contest for Raymond's Reward, trainer Matthew Williams put a circle around a race at Ballarat.
The VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade (1400m) on Saturday appealed as a nice way to earn a good chunk of prize money ahead of the upcoming yearling sale season.
The race carries $175,000 in prize money with an extra $30,000 in bonuses.
By Reward For Effort from Banri Maeve, Raymond's Reward is a 'homebred' gelding that is owned predominantly by Williams' wife.
"He went to Warrnambool and won first-up and we've had this race in mind for him for a while, being that he's VOBIS Gold and they can fall away a bit these types of races," Williams said.
"It's a $175,000 race with bonuses on top, so it's worth good money, plus Mrs Ultra Williams owns about 80 per cent of him.
"Not all homebreds work out, but he's one that has worked out alright so far."
Raymond's Reward has raced twice, registering a debut second in the Elvstroem Classic at Swan Hill during the three-day Carnival in June before returning from a break to score at Warrnambool over 1400m on November 2.
Williams revealed he had scratched Raymond's Reward from a couple of races between that maiden race victory and Saturday's contest.
"I've scratched him a couple of times because of wide gates," Williams said.
"I didn't want him to have a gut-busting run going into the race. I would rather have him as good as I can just off some work.
"We gave him a trial last week at Penshurst, just to have wound up and ready to go."
Saturday's race has drawn together a field of seven and importantly for Williams, Raymond's Reward has performed on firm and soft ground.
The track was rated a Good 4 on Wednesday, but 3-20mm of rain is forecast for Saturday.
"He's fine on all sorts of ground," Williams said.
"It was heavy when he ran at Swan Hill, so if it was wet it won't worry him."