R1 - 2,7,5,1,10
R2 - 1,9,3,5,6
R3 - 1,7,3,2,10
R4 - 3,10,2,1,8
#4 Jazz Steed is a lightly raced 5yo International Sales Graduate who's certainly been a slow maturing type, with soundness issues primarily to blame. In the later stages of last season Casper Fownes managed to iron out those niggling injuries and positive results have followed accordingly. Chad Schofield's been very loyal and the pair combined recently to win a trial over 1000m at shatin, looking polished in the process. With the draw ideal and the necessary cover likely in transit, I'd be very disappointed if he didn't find the line well enough to win.
#6 Here Comes Ted was at the top of his game prior to last seasons end back in mid July. With residual fitness a plus and the benefit of two trials he may have the edge in a driving finish. It is worth pointing out though, he's drawn a touch tricky and the valley is unforgiving if you cant get in down the back stretch.
#1 Power King from a tactical perspective is the most interesting candidate. His debut run last season was a cracker and he produced decent early sectionals on that occasion. His form line and trial suggest he's likely to be riden conservative from the gate, but I'm not convinced. Tony Cruz generally like his horses in the firing line early and there's a distinct possibility this bloke rolls forward tonight. There looks a spot available outside the leader after jumping and he could easily be eyeing off that position. From there he's right in the race and clearly good enough to be there when it matters.
#7 Wood On Fire is still yet to win but he's gone close quite a few times. He can mix his form and the stable has switched the head gear around on many occasions trying to get a result. He's a nervous type that can turn off and on depending on his comfort zone. Tonights draw should give him the gun run and his best would be good enough, but there are reservations.
#9 Diamond Rhyme takes the final selection but there were others to consider for minor money. A very disappointing horse overall but he has dropped many rating points in the process. There's definitely been some positives from his movement in recent work and trials at Conghua. Frankie Lor's also had him long enough to start getting results.
Selections : 4,6,1,7,9
R6 - 10,9,1,7,11
R7 - 1,8,2,5,4
#10 Cantstopthefeeling is a former Kiwi galloper that arrived last season on a rating of 80points, following a Group 2 placing in the Auckland Guineas. Acclimatisation took its toll and the best part of a season went by before we started seeing encouraging signs. His final two runs at Happy Valley last term suggested his wellbeing had improved dramatically, both physically and mentally. Tonight, the 1200m should be run at a strong speed allowing him to sit back and soak up the pressure, before launching his run down the stretch. A recent strong trial with Alexis Badel aboard confirmed he's lost nothing during the break, so I'm prepared to take him each way over the favourite.
#1 Fantasy is the likely favourite and his first campaign of racing was most encouraging. Rising 28points in a season with 3wins and 4seconds highlighted his talent and motor underneath the bonnet. On the flip side he'll be reasonably short, first up at this rating and with all the weight to carry. It's likely he's the best horse and he may well prove that, however, I'm happy to shop around him until I've seen him do it again.
#5 Guy Dragon has his first run for the new stable and first run at the city circuit. He's good on his day and generally a strong closer but has not trialed prior to tonight's event. He may need the run but you'd be brave leaving him out with Purton aboard and a nice draw. Market shall be the accurate guide.
#8 Loriz is on a career high rating and may be vulnerable early to some alternative opposition for pace. If he doesn't lead the option to hand up is certainly available. If the track also favours on speed runners it's another reason to treat him with respect. Include in exotics.
#11 First Responder has a liking for this course and distance but shall need things to fall his way from the draw. He's been in the Douglas Whyte stable for a few months now and looks a very happy horse. Still quite well rated and tactically versatile I wouldn't suggest he's the rank outsider.
Selections : 10,1,5,8,11