Scone trainer Cameron Crockett says in-form Darby Racing pair Expellable and Golden Avenger are inseparable on and off the track.
So no one was happier than Crockett when a flood of nominations for Randwick's class two Highway Handicap (1100 metres) on Saturday led to a second, identical race on the program.
Crockett's duo were split between the races, giving the former Mudgee-based trainer two genuine chances of scoring his first city win since moving to Scone last May.
Expellable has gate four and just 53.5kg in race two thanks to the claim of Brock Ryan (3kg). Golden Avenger has barrier eight of 11 in the third and will carry 54kg with Robbie Dolan (1.5kg claim) aboard. Both were $5 chances with the TAB.
Crockett was thrilled the pair won't be facing off again on Saturday after Golden Avenger beat Expellable in a photo-finish at Tamworth on December 23.
"I haven't been able to split the two horses up in their trackwork and everything, so I'm glad Racing NSW did it for me, because they don't have to clash now," Crockett said. "Expellable is a little bit more forward than the other horse now because he's had a run [since the Tamworth race], so he's rock solid.
"If the track is rain affected, I wouldn't be concerned for him if it's a bit of hard going because he's very fit.
"The other horse had a bit of trouble with his feet after that first-up run and he's had six weeks between runs, so I'd prefer a soft surface for his feet - on top of the ground and not digging in.
"He might be a bit vulnerable fitness-wise, but they are both going really well and I give them a chance to run top three."
Expellable, a four-year-old, was unplaced in four starts for Bjorn Baker, but has won two of three for Crockett, either side of the close second to his stablemate.
Golden Avenger, a three-year-old, has won two of four starts after coming to Crockett from the stables of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.
Crockett, 32, a former Gooree Stud breaker, has managed the pair through knee and feet problems respectively to find success.
"They live in the boxes next to each other and they do everything together," he said.
"The second one panics if the first one goes out to race without him.
"Neither of them are a star but they do everything right. They just go out and work, do what you want them to do, travel well and nothing is a fuss for them. And they both try really hard, that's their biggest asset.
"Everyone who works with them gets along with them and I think that's what's got them to where they are, as a chance in a highway race, more so than ability. They are just all-round workers."
"But they've had things against them.
"Expellable had a bad knee when came to me, and it flared up after his first run, so I put him in the paddock to heal up but it never really went away. He battles with that all the time.
"The other horse has terrible feet. If he steps on a stone, he knuckles down to the ground on his nose. He's got really sensitive feet.
"That's why we never trialled him. We ran him first-up at Tamworth and he ran out of his skin. We thought he'd be a bit sore after it and for three or four days he was, but at the moment he's as sound as a bell.
"He'll probably be sore after, but it doesn't seem to deter either of them."
Crockett came to Scone from Mudgee to expand his operation and be closer to more tracks. He said the move had been great and he had about 45 horses in his team.
"I had too many horses to be training at Mudgee," he said.
"There were just no facilities there. I had 25 boxes and I had to build six more, and I didn't have a walking machine ... it was just all too much.
"You were making ends meet but not making any money, which was annoying because you were working 24-7."
He claimed two highway handicaps, and other city races, while at Mudgee.