PERAST - I feel morally obliged to have a Stradbroke tip and if you accept all the arguments that Champagne Cuddles is weighted to win then at the prices on offer you must consider the other in-form three-year-old Perast particularly with Jeff Lloyd going to extreme levels to make the weight. Perast has come of age this winter winning convincingly his past two over the Stradbroke trip albeit against his own age group. He is by Snitzel, they love soft ground and his on-pace style is suited to the rectangular Doomben track. Shannon Perry is confident, so am I and I am prepared to trust Perast to be up to the class.
GRIM REAPER - Whilst I am no Laurie Sainsbury at picking roughies I don’t mind having a throw at the stumps and this is one of them. Stephen O’Dea has two runners in the JJ Atkins and whilst both have chances of upsetting the favourite The Autumn Sun it is the extreme outsider Grim Reaper that takes my fancy. Grim Reaper is by Domesday out of a Commands mare and is one horse I can be confident will run out a strong 1600m having put in a good effort over the trip behind Commander last start at Sunshine Coast. Like many of the Domesday stock Grim Reaper is improving as a late two-year-old and whilst this is a step up in class he is an on-pacer who will be handy throughout and appreciate the soft going. Brenton Avdulla gets on and he loves riding a long-priced winner. Grim Reaper maps well in running for this and I will have a small each way play.
BAD WOLF - Thought this Lloyd Kennewell-trained three-year-old was outstanding when game in defeat second-up, taking a stack of late ground off the undefeated Diamond Tycoon. Bumps into that same runner here however gets a couple of crucial form factors in his favour that I believe will be enough to see this bloke turn the tables on the favourite. Not only does he strip fitter, it’s the speedmap where he has a distinct advantage. Instead of being out the back doing all the chasing expect him to settle a lot closer from his much more favourable draw. Whilst also being aided by big positive rider change with Joe Bowditch back aboard, I would much rather be taking $4 about Bad Wolf rather than $2.60 Diamond Tycoon.
ROYAL RUMBLE - Handy MacDonald/Gluyas-trained gelding racing as though he is looking for this extra trip. Is also likely to find this significantly easier than recent assignments which have included tackling some Group and Listed affairs. If anywhere near his best and given slight improvement, I have every confidence in saying this bloke is capable of shaking the life out of this. Quick back-up also another distinct bonus. Expect sharp improver and big value runner only if track is good.
MYSTIFIED - Ryan Balfour-trained mare that has been far from disgraced in recent much tougher Group races including a 3-1/4 length defeat by Shoals in the Group I Robert Sangster Stakes. This Benchmark 86 affair is a massive drop in grade yet she still gets in amazingly well on the minimum. Looks to map ideally just off a genuine tempo with Go the Journey and Set to Sparkle both certain to go forward whilst the roughie, It’s Fred could also provide nuisance value up front. Given this scenario I think Mystified looks placed to advantage to secure an overdue win at lovely each-way odds.