THE Rod Hilton stable will play a lone hand defending local pride in the $25,000 Texas Cup (1200m) on December 7.
Of the eight likely starters, Hilton's New Alliance is the only runner with a trainer based in Texas.
Rivals The Mechanic (Nanango), Scrabble (Toowoomba), He's A Moral (Dalby), Pieridae (Toowoomba), Mellore (Inverell), Turbo Teddy (Warwick) and Abb Roy (Warwick) hail from further afield.
Geoffrey Snowden will ride New Alliance for Hilton, replacing Beau-Dene Appo who has been the six-year-old's raceday partner in its past three outings.
With Appo riding, New Alliance managed to win a Benchmark 65 race at Clifton on October 26 before consecutive placings in Toowoomba sprints on November 9 and 23, including one over 870 metres.
New Alliance has drawn barrier five but after the early scratching of Pick Of The Pubs (barrier two), he will move in closer and jump from gate four.
Rider Jodi Worley will hope for better luck at the office when she rides Scrabble for trainer Matt Kropp following an unsuccessful day in the saddle at Coffs Harbour on December 5.
Worley will be the 10th different jockey to team with Scrabble since February. In his previous 2019 tests, Anthony Allen, Ashley Butler, Luke Dittman, Daniel Griffin, Michael Murphy, James Orman, Luke Tarrant, Nathan Thomas and Chris Whiteley have been on duty.
As well Kropp is his third trainer after the horse spent time with Stuart Kendrick at the Sunshine Coast and Adrian Coome in Rockhampton.
Scrabble has won on eight occasions and been placed in another 15 of his 46 race appointments.
Lightly raced Pieridae looms as the likely favourite despite never having raced at Texas in the past and nor is he a winner over the distance.
Pieridae's six attempts at 1200m have yielded three placings.
To be ridden by apprentice Olivia Pickering for Toowoomba trainer Lindsay Hatch, Pieridae has won or been placed at 13 of his 18 starts.
Form analysts are happy Pickering's two kilograms claim will cut Pieridae's handicap to 54.5kg, the lightest impost he has shouldered since May and five subsequent runs have produced three winning cheques and two second place finishes.