REIGNING champion Mister Hunter faces a difficult title defence on the weekend.

Successful in last season’s Australian Pacing Gold Bullion Final at Tabcorp Park Melton, Mister Hunter will return to the venue for Saturday night’s three-year-old edition.

Although the Vince Dicocco-trained colt is in perfect form, the barrier draw is set to make the task all the more arduous.

Winner of his three starts this season – for a record of six wins and a third from eight outings – Mister Hunter has received gate seven.

To be driven by John Caldow, the son of Huntsville slots into six with the removal of the emergency.

“He’s going really well and I’m very happy with him,” Dicocco said. “Wish I could say the same about the draw.

“The draw certainly makes it tough and I’m not sure what we will do.

“I’ll have to talk to John about whether we go forward or look to slot in somewhere.”

Despite his impeccable form and status as defending champ, Mister Hunter is the $3.20 second elect with TAB Fixed Odds.

One of two Emma Stewart-prepared runners in the $100,000 feature, Gawn heads the market at $2.20 from barrier nine.

“Gawn and Roryville from four are the pair to beat,” Dicocco said. “Hopefully we’ll get the right run on the night and come away with the win.”

Dicocco will also be represented by Rocknroll Gronk, which has drawn perfectly in the pole

“He is a handy horse which has been unlucky to win by now,” Dicocco said. “This is a big ask for him, but he could surprise a few if luck goes his way.”