MALAHAT - Here’s another shortie but again I expect him to prove extremely hard to beat. His trials have been solid, not knocked around and jogging along in strong fashion. He’s a horse with a victory over Kementari early in their careers and last preparation this son of Exceed And Excel raced against some of the best three-year-old sprinters around, finishing fourth behind Viridine, when he started favourite, in the Heritage Stakes and he was far from disgraced when seventh in the Coolmore Stud Stakes behind Merchant Navy. The key factor why I think he can go to another level this prep is he seems a much more settled horse in his trials. He’s been gelded since we last saw him and he looks to be more relaxed, content to settle behind them which, if I’m right, will equate to more strength at the back end of his races. Class isn’t a query and he should have too much for this lot.
DROCHAID - Imported galloper that’s made a solid start to life in Australia. On debut he caught the eye getting home in an on-pace favoured race in the worst part of the track. Stepped up to 1600m and scored a solid win, when doing his best work late and running away over the latter stages, defeating Dubaiinstyle, which has run well again since. Steps out on a firm track for the first time this preparation but looking at his UK form, it’s shouldn’t be a concern because his three Northern Hemisphere wins all came on good rated tracks. Kept up to the mark recently with a 1200m trial and Kerrin McEvoy jumping aboard is a good pointer to what the stable think about this staying prospect. Expect him to run well here.
SEE ME OUT - A recent Warwick Farm trial suggests the John Steinmetz- trained See Me Out is primed for a first-up win in the Taree Cup Weekend On August 17-19 Class 1 Handicap (1007m). Racing on the speed, See Me Out finished a close second in the 807m trial when ridden by Alena Skerritt who has the race day ride and her 1.5kg claim gives See Me Out a significant 4kg pull in the weights over the race morning favourite La Pont from the Kris Lees stable. Although she won a Canberra maiden later in the preparation, See Me Out’s first-up run last time in was arguably her best run in the preparation finishing second to Shudabeen in a Wyong maiden. The Canberra win came in soft ground and See Me Out has a runner-up finish on a soft (7) track at Orange on her resume so it’s reasonable to assume she will handle the heavy (8) surface on Monday. If See Me Out can replicate the Wyong run on Monday she will test the favourite to the limit.
SECOND STEP See Me Out’s stablemate Second Step stands out as the day’s best bet in the Saxbys Flavoured Soft Drinks Benchmark 69 Handicap Heat Of The Rising Star (1007m). Like See Me Out, Second Step looked ready to go fresh finishing a close second in a Warwick Farm trial and will have Alena Skerritt in the saddle. A Wyong maiden winner in two first preparation runs before an easy Bathurst win first-up last preparation, Second Step contested successive metropolitan Saturday races before spelling and although finished out of the placings was only two lengths from the winner on each occasion. The heavy track looks the only query for Second Step. However, it is worth noting she did win a Warwick Farm trial in heavy going leading into her first-up win last preparation. Second Step simply looks better than her rivals.
SOFIN - The Shannon Fry-trained Sofin hasn’t been back to the winner’s stall since she won the 2016 Port Macquarie Cup but does look well placed in the Wingham Cup On June 1st Open Handicap (1614m). In her subsequent 12 starts, Sofin has contested four Listed and Group races and was only three lengths from the winner in a Wyong Cup and Belle Of The Turf at Gosford and finished second in the 2017 South Grafton Cup. Sofin did enough when just over three lengths from the winner at Warwick Farm resuming to suggest there is a win or two in the mare this preparation. A four-time winner on soft and heavy ground, Sofin will be fitter second-up and is in with a winnable weight after the 2kg claim for Chelsea Ings. The daughter of Casino Prince won’t get a better chance to return to the winner’s list.