LOWER Belford trainer Todd Howlett says tough-as-teak Two Big Fari has shown a wide barrier will not stop him from challenging in the Country Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick this weekend.
And, he has the perfect man aboard to take him around the Sydney track for the first time on Saturday, April 4.
Two Big Fari was among the top hopes at $8.50 with the TAB in the $400,000 decider to draw wide on Wednesday.
The four-year-old gelding, which won the last-chance Wild Card qualifier (1280m) at Muswellbrook on March 22, drew barrier 20.
That will be 14 of 16 if all the emergencies come out.
Favourite Bobbing ($4.60), for Scone trainer Bernie Kelly, drew 17, while Ligulate ($5) and Julian Rock ($6.50) gained barriers 18 and 16 respectively.
The rest of the field was at double-figure odds.
The draw will not help Two Big Fari, a noted on-pace runner, but Howlett expected his star and jockey Brenton Avdulla to overcome the setback and be among the leaders.
"Most of the good ones have drawn out, and we'll come in with the few emergencies,: he said.
"I think you've just got to ride him how he goes.
"His last two starts he's drawn out [in nine and 13] and he's rolled forward and won.
"And, he's such a big-striding horse, I think he needs room as well.
"I didn't think there was a real lot of speed in the race."
Two Big Fari is yet to race at Randwick but he has competed twice in town, at Rosehill and Warwick Farm, for wins over 1400m with Avdulla in the saddle.
He completed his last piece of serious work on Muswellbrook's course proper on Wednesday morning and Howlett declared him "ready to roll".
"He just went five and two, a nice, strong bit of work, which is all he needed to just keep him ticking over," he said.
"He's nice and fit now, so it was just a bit of maintenance."
Two Big Fari has won four of five starts, and finished second in the other, since returning from six months out following surgery to remove a kneebone chip.
Randwick was a soft 6 on Wednesday but forecast rain could push it into the heavy range.
Two Big Fari has won twice and been second twice in four runs on soft going, but he is yet to tackle heavy.
Howlett, though, believed he would handle any challenge.
"He's a real tough horse, they get up alongside him and he's on for the fight," he said.