Small-scale Albany trainer Peter Western is expecting Starauthoress to finish in the top three of this Sunday’s $40,000 Regional Championship Heat: The Road To Ascot (1230m) at Percy Spencer Racecourse. Great Southern racing will officially hold its first meeting of the season with a seven-race program at Albany Racing Club. The first five horses across the line in the regional heat will gain an automatic entry to the $100,000 final on November 27 in Perth. The regional championship heat has attracted a field of 10, with leading trainers Steve Wolfe and Roy Rogers along with Jon Jachmann each having two runners. Starauthoress will race first up without a trial but has the services of regular rider Jason Whiting from barrier nine with 54.5kg. Western thinks Kendel’s Mee Dad and Kazkazi from the Rogers yard are the horses to beat. “I expect him to go alright, I would have preferred him to have a trial but he ran a good race first up last season,” Western said. “He has been working quite well and I expect a very forward showing. “I’m hoping and expecting he can run in the first three. “He has got into the race by his ratings but I think it’s a pretty even type of field. “Roy’s two up the top will be hard to beat.” The six-year-old gelding put back-to-back wins together last season. “Having Jason riding is a positive, he has ridden a lot of my horses over the past few years and gets along with the horse well,” Western said. “Hopefully he can get back to the form he was in last season when he ran three to four nice races together. “He will get back like he usually does and hopefully storming home late.” The opening meeting attracted 96 nominations across the seven races with 75 final runners after scratchings. Wolfe and Rogers dominate the card with 18 and 17 runners respectively. Meanwhile, Albany will have a strong representation in the feature races at Ascot on Saturday. Hoi An, trained by Rogers, will tackle the Group 3 $200,000 WA Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m), with Shaun O’Donnell aboard, as she looks for her devastating best after three unplaced runs back from a spell. Star sprinter Red Can Man prepared by Wolfe will have his first start back in WA in close to a year in the Group 3 $150,000 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) with Peter Knuckey booked to ride. Red Can Man had six runs in Victoria which included a Group 3 success along with two further placings. Thriving nine-year-old Luke’s Gold will look to continue his competitive form in the Group 3 $150,000 RJ Peters Stakes (1500m) for Rogers and O’Donnell.