John O'Shea is clinging to a stand-out statistic in Steps In Time's racing record to help her deliver what he believes would be an against-the-odds Coolmore Classic win at Rosehill on Saturday.
Angered by the handicapper's treatment of the mare, the Randwick trainer says Steps In Time has "weights and measures" against her in the Group One race for fillies and mares.
Steps In Time will carry 57.5kg on Saturday, 2kg more than when she finished a well-beaten eighth after leading in last year's edition.
The five-year-old has won two Listed races and a Group Two in the 12 months since and O'Shea can't fathom how she has to give 2.5kg to Group One weight-for-age winner Appearance.
"On weights and measures she's got none but all I can do is get my horse right," O'She said.
"However I don't think there is a form student in Australia that couldn't argue that she shouldn't have less weight."
O'Shea said the handicaps favoured the Group One-winning three-year-old fillies Dear Demi and Norzita.
"They are the ones who come into the race well, especially compared to previous years," he said.
"My horse has to carry the same weight as Sunline did when she won and it hasn't been done since."
In spite of O'Shea's concerns, Steps In Time still occupies the top place in Coolmore betting, sharing favouritism at $5.50 with Norzita.
The VRC Oaks winner Dear Demi is on the next line at $6.50.
A large percentage of Steps In Time's assessment has been factored in on her effortless Wiggle Stakes win when she left Coolmore rivals Streama and Pear Tart more than three lengths in her wake.
At her start before she defeated another Coolmore runner, the Chris Waller-trained Red Tracer, in the Group Two Breeders' Classic.
"Her whole preparation has been focused around one race and the fact she is unbeaten third-up after a spell is a genuine positive," O'Shea said.
Waller has similar weight worry for Red Tracer but his thinking is based on the mares's diminutive stature rather than being unfairly treated with 57.5kg.
"Being a small mare, the weight is a concern," he said.
Red Tracer covered ground when worse than midfield in last year's race but she is assured of a much softer run from her rails draw this time.
Waller, with an eye on Sydney's weather forecast, said a soft track would bring Red Tracer into the race.
"They are predicting scattered showers so we'll just have to wait and see," he said.
AAP TURF wb