1. Western Empire
First up for John Leek Jnr with plenty of gear changes. He is a Group 1 winner over a mile in Perth and whilst this is short of his best he has a class edge here and his jump outs have been sharp enough to run well first up.
Won this race twice before in 2020 and 2022. Track and distance specialist who was very good here two back. This looks to have been his target and he is drawn well with Blake Shinn. Can win.
3. Indian Pacific
Started a big price in the Winterbottom and didn’t fire, then finished midfield in the Summer Scorcher. His best would see him go close but looks short enough to my eye at $6.
Five year old mare on the rise. Impressed winning this track and distance on Melbourne Cup day. Been given time and caught the eye winning a Cranbourne jump out by a big space recently. Fitness?
5. Dawn Passage
Second of the resumers. Typically runs well first up and the jump outs have been solid enough to suggest he could run well here.
Freshened after finishing sixth in the Bullion at Pakenham. Respect the stable but prefer others.
Should be getting to peak fitness third up and is drawn to get every chance. First four chance.
8. Rose Quartz
Quality mare who hasn’t missed the quinella in three goes this track and trip. Raced wide in the Christmas Stakes at Sandown and fought on bravely into third. One of the chances.
Gets blinkers again but would need to run a new peak to be in the finish here.
10. Ocean Beyond
Has raced well here in the past but doesn’t appear to be going well enough.
Good winner here two back and drops significantly in weight for this. Place chance.
Thought he was entitled to finish closer than he did at Moonee Valley. Another who would need to run to a new peak to win this.