MAIN STAGE - Last time in at his second racing campaign he won a maiden at Kilmore, ran second at Flemington to Tavistock Abbey (1800m), he then won at Flemington (1800m) beating Cliffs Edge, was third at Caulfield in the Group III Caulfield Classic to Cliffs Edge before being dictated to in the Victorian Derby by his wide gate when fifth to Ace High. He was an eye-catcher first-up at Flemington when fourth to Grunt and Cliffs Edge. He was ordinary in the Australian and Rosehill Guineas before his last start fifth in the Australian Derby behind Levendi and Ace High after being ridden outside his comfort zone. In that race he was caught wide strode forward and raced on the speed, led on the turn and held on determinedly. Speed on here with Runaway and Box On Collins going hard. Damian Oliver has his first ride on him, let’s hope he has some luck from a tricky draw.
MISS WONDERLAND - Clare Cunningham has had a very good strike rate with 22 winners from 90 starters since she took up training and would welcome a result at the Brisbane Winter carnival. Miss Wonderland did plenty wrong when resuming being slowly away and then over-racing in a strong race won by Anatola with Test The World and Dissolute filling the placings. She will find this much easier, has been kept fresh since and from gate five with Kerrin McEvoy up a more positive ride can be expected. She steps up to 1350m and if the track remains soft she should be hard to run down.
COLDSTONE - I was originally keen on Payroll but after reading my colleague Greg Polson’s analysis of Doomben barriers have swung to Coldstone as the better value. Freshened up since his most recent outing in the Bendigo Golden Mile he will get the gun run from barrier one and Craig Williams should be able to dictate in a race of moderate tempo. His record over 1600m is very strong with three career wins at the trip, two in France and one in Australia and he has rarely run poorly at the journey. The last time Williams rode Coldstone he placed behind Payroll in the Listed Lord Stakes over 1700m at Caulfield four starts back when he knuckled over and lost his advantage at the start. If he doesn’t make the same mistake again Coldstone will be hard to run down and is at good each-way odds.
RISING RED - Trained by the partnership of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, Rising Red was considered good enough to be taken to New Zealand for the Derby where he ran second to Gingernuts. He was then off the scene for a year and since resuming has been steadily improving and put in a big run in the JRA Plate at Randwick over 2000m last start sitting outside the free-running leader to the home turn then hitting the front only to be cut down in the final stages. Rising Red is getting fitter with every outing and has the gate speed to overcome his outside draw. If Corey Brown can park him on the pace he will be hard to get past.
MARSUPIAL - A Godolphin horse, the well-named Marsupial has been very consistent since resuming and beat a similar field last start here over the same trip. Jeff Lloyd replaces the Mauritius-bound Robbie Fradd and Marsupial should get every chance from gate three. The well-bred three-year-old by Street Cry out of the Listed winner Koala Bear comfortably accounted for most of the locals in this last start and if he can handle the Kiwi and other interstate visitors should be too good.