Blue skies are drying out what was a drenched Doomben track only days ago following serious deluges in South East Queensland earlier in the week. On Friday afternoon, the track was rated a Heavy 8 – vast improvement from the Heavy 10 of Thursday afternoon. More clear weather should see it into the Soft 7 range on raceday. The rail is out +0.5m the entire course, with a fresh inside 10m section on the improve as sun beams down. Expecting the inside will be significantly better ground and a big advantage to on-pacers (as is the norm at Doomben anyway) with the outside drying much slower.

Best bet: Race 9 #6 LASHES

We have to wait all day, but I’m very keen on Lashes taking out the last. Two starts ago this mare ran fourth to genuine Group 1 performer Probabeel at Caulfield, beaten just over two lengths. Trainer Matthew Smith has elected to bring Lashes north after that short stint in Victoria, which saw her run close-up behind Probabeel and then run down the track at Flemington where it’s likely she simply didn’t handled the straight. From gate four here  Robbie Fradd should be able to settle in a forward position, likely just behind the speed of Partners and Lets Party Marty, before letting down in the straight and winning. As an 82 rates up from NSW, she gets into this event exceptionally well with only 55.5kg. Expect her to be right in the finish.

Next best: Race 6 #3 AXE

I’m happy to forgive Axe for the second-up Gold Coast failure when heavily-backed but didn’t appreciate the soft going, racing keenly in the early stages before finishing an honourable fourth. I like that he’s back slightly in trip to 1100m as he can zip across from the wide draw and hold a prominent spot – if not lead. He carried 61kg to bolt in at Ipswich first-up at his first Queensland run before the last start blip. Two of his three career wins have been on soft so the ground should be to his liking. At the odds you can back him each-way and doubt we’ll miss.

Best each way: Race 3 #4 BAREFOOT

Loved the first-up run of this 5yo mare when beaten 3.6L in a quality race on Jewel day at the Gold Coast. She’s not a noted performer early in her campaign and was sent out around $31 on that occasion, but toughed it out to line well in inferior ground on the fence after being under the persuader well before the straight. She’s quite a gross mare and can take time to find fitness, and while her stats suggest second-up and the Doomben track won’t be to her liking, if you delve deeper into her form, it is quite solid on both those fronts. On many occasions she’s only been beaten a few lengths in tougher assignment and one placing from eight starts at this track is not indicative of how competitive she has been at this circuit. I like her out to 1600m which is the range of her two most recent wins and she is 1/1 on soft ground. While the track is likely to be on-pace, I can see plenty of early speed despite the small field and she could sit 2-3 back the fence.