The topweight ran 4th in the Leon Macdonald Stakes over 1400m last start and was working home strongly hitting the line better than anything late. This six-year-old Sebring gelding is one of two runners for Dean Saxon. All three of his wins have been over 1200m but he is a rough place chance.
2. Second Slip
This five-year-old Alamosa gelding trained by Will Clarken has seven wins and four places from 19 starts. He is the early favourite and has drawn the outside barrier in this capacity field. He resumed after 20 weeks for a 0.75 length win over 1100m at Caulfield, then won the Leon Macdonald Stakes by a comfortable 2.5 length margin.
3. Chapel City
This eight-year-old gelding has seven wins and 16 places from 51 starts. He resumed after over a year for 5.4 lengths 7th in the Leon Macdonald. He did win the Group 3 R A Lee Stakes over 1600m but that was in May 2020 and he looks tested here.
4. Highly Decorated
Trained by Nicole Irwin at Murray Bridge, this five-year-old Epaulette gelding comes off a 2.8 length win in the Darwin Cup, which was his seventh consecutive win in the Northen Territory. Has drawn barrier one and could place here.
A five-year-old Fiorente gelding trained by Mick Huxtable who resumed for 4 lengths 3rd in the Group 3 Spring Stakes over 1200m, then finished 2nd in the Leon Macdonald. One of the chances but has drawn badly.
6. Winning Partner
Last year he won this race by 1,4 lengths ahead of Analytica and Savatoxl at his first run at Balaklava, then went on to win the Murray Bridge Cup. He is one of three runners for Tony & Calvin McEvoy and has had three starts in Melbourne this campaign.
One of four mares in the race, this seven-year-old by Americain has drawn out wide. Finished 5.2 lengths in the Leon Macdonald when resuming and this looks too hard.
8. Mr Marathon Man
A seven-year-old So You Think gelding that ran 2.4 lengths 2nd over 1400m at Murray Bridge last outing. Not the worst.
This nine-year-old Al Maher mare is the oldest runner in the race this year. She has 10 wins from her 35 starts, but none at Listed level. Resumed from a 43 week spell for 5.2 lengths 5th in the Leon Macdonald. Could struggle from the wide barrier.
10. Classy Joe
One of two runners for John Hickmott & Carrina Riggs, this seven-year-old Danerich gelding won two consecutive races over 1800m at Morphettville before 3.3 lengths 3rd over 2250m at Morphettville Parks on 28 August. Has been racing over longer distances and has drawn out wide. Unlikely.
11. Extreme Thrill
This seven-year-old gelding trained by Wayne Francis & Glen Kent has a good record at this distance. Ran 3rd in the Leon Macdonald last outing and hasn’t finished worse than 4th in five starts this campaign. Could show up.
12. Hasta La War
Trained by Sue Murphy at Naracoorte, this six-year-old Declaration Of War gelding has six wins and four places from 15 starts. He finished 3.7 lengths 7th in the Group 3 R A Lee Stakes over 1600m, then was 3 lengths 7th in a BM 78 at Morphettville on 21 August.
This six-year-old trained by Travis Doudle has won three from six this campaign. Has been to Balaklava once before where he won a maiden plate in 2019. Will be ridden by Jason Holder who has won this race twice before. Could show up.
14. France’s Boy
An eight year-old who must be very sound as he has raced 19 times since beginning his campaign on 19 December 2020 and has had a massive 75 starts in his career so far.Won’t be far away in the run and has won one of his two starts at this track.
15. Master Chum
He didn’t handle the Heavy 10 track and finished a long last over 1800m at Morphettville on 31 July. Has had a six week let-up and won a trial at Murray Bridge since then. Rough chance.
16. Wings Of Pastrami
This five-year-old mare trained by Jeff Searle at Bordertown has placed at her last three starts and looks close to a win. She lost her position after steadying before working home for 1.7 lengths 3rd over 1600m at Morphettville on 21 August, then came on strongly late for 0.5 length 2nd over 1550m at Morphettville on 4 September. One of the main chances.
17. Sign Of Ussuri – 1st Emergency
Gets the winkers on for the first time and has had two good runs this campaign. Will be a chance if he gets a run.
18. Meehni – 2nd Emergency
A five-year-old Sebring mare who won two in a row at Ballarat then Bendigo before 3.3 lengths 6th over 1600m at Sandown Lakeside.
19. Exalted Fire – 3rd Emergency
Has three starts at this track and distance for two wins and a 2nd. Don’t ignore him if he gets a run.