1. Testator Silens (Luke Clarke, Braidwood): Won this race last year at Nowra from an outside alley and finished midfield in the Final. He had no luck in the Kosciuszko with a wide run but his city appearances since then have been solid. Wasn't disgraced at Group 3 level fresh, beaten a couple of lengths by Quantico and he's drawn quite well for a change jumping from about gate five (if all emergencies come out). That should give him every chance and he has to be a major player.
2. Toretto (Matthew Dale, Goulburn): Placed in the Moruya Cup over this course at his last appearance at the start of the year and that's solid credentials for coming back to a Class 5. He is a backmarker, however, so will be relying on the tempo and pattern bringing him into the race and that could explain some of his inconsistency in stronger company since his Class 3 win a year ago. To be fair his disappointing runs have been either in the city or on heavy tracks. Over the odds on his best form.
3. Manderboss (Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones): The barrier could see him in a world of pain conceding a big start but everything else about him says you can't leave him out, though given the draw he's under the odds. Brings consistent city form into this race from the summer and was too good in the Bega Cup over a mile two runs back, earning him a place in the Big Dance. Again ran on in the Canberra Mile last week beaten a length. Comes back to 1400m which is against him from that gate but, as mentioned, can't ignore.
4. To The Nines (Tash Burleigh, Goulburn): Was a $61 chance when he finished second in this race at Nowra last year before finishing near the tail in the Final. This preparation he's raced consistently with a Highway win in November and a game fourth in a Benchmark 72 at Randwick. Game in defeat when runner-up in the Moruya Cup as a $4.80 chance. He will roll forward and be on speed and he's another that seems a bit of value.
5. I've Bean Tryin' (Matthew Kelley, Canberra): Promising type with a big finish and beat Running Bear, placed in the Hunter & North West race last week, to win a Highway back in the winter. He's been exposed to city class in three runs since then and his first-up fourth at Warwick Farm over 1200m was an eye-catching effort, he runs third in one more stride and hit the line hard. Trialled here before his first-up run and trialled at Goulburn since. The barrier might hurt his chances a bit but with any luck he can be in the finish.
6. King Gutho (Joe Cleary, Queanbeyan): Started $4.80 in the Narooma Cup at this track in December and had his chance in eighth. Ran on well to place in the Magic Millions Country Cup on the Gold Coast before a freshen and his even last start fourth at Canberra in a 1200m Federal. He could put himself in the first half from a middle draw, just not sure if he's attacking the line like you want to see him going into this kind of race.
7. Eastern Glow (Keith Dryden, Canberra): Four wins from his last five starts says this four-year-old knows where the winning post is and he arrives at his toughest test a last stride Highway winner five weeks ago. Draws very well unlike in his two Highway appearances and was able to sit handy winning a Class 2 at this track first-up from a spell, albeit narrowly. Wonder if he needs a bit further at this level to be the price he is but what you can't fault his is record so he has to be respected.
8. Devils Triangle (Matthew Dale, Goulburn): Strong winner of the Narooma Cup over 1300m at this track then was five weeks between runs into an even fourth at Canterbury in a Benchmark 78 over the 1250m. Only been to the 1400m twice, one was at her second race start at Dubbo in a Class 2 and the other a Benchmark 78 on a heavy 10 at Randwick last autumn. We'll forgive the latter and the former is no guide being two years ago. Can only see her going back from the barrier with that distance question mark just a place chance.
9. Arnaqueur (Jean Dubois, Goulburn): Started $2.40 in this race last year at Nowra and ran eighth at his first run as a gelding and largely disappointed in that prep. Then he suddenly found form to win a Benchmark 72 by a big margin in August and his form since then has been honest in city company. Didn't run on up to a mile behind Banju last start but his 1400m credentials are excellent. What isn't is the barrier draw and where he'll get to in the run. Not the type of horse to leave out, though.
10. Invertational (Matthew Kelley, Canberra): Another up and comer with four wins from six starts and this filly measured right up beating older horses in each of her three wins on end including her last start on her home track where she chased hard under 58kg. The draw is enormous for her if she can take any advantage of it and settle around midfield, she has a great turn of foot and has been underestimated in the market. Genuine winning chance.
11. Easy Rosie (Anthony Warren, Goulburn): Only missed a place four times in 14 starts, for four wins, so she's an honest mare and she's three from four when first-up so obviously been targeted at this race fresh. Beat a stayer in her recent Hawkesbury trial but she does put herself in her races and that'll give her every chance to produce her best result.
12. Iconic Dame (Jamie Stewart, Moruya): Appeared to be tracking well for this race with a runaway win in the Preview at Goulburn but had a torrid run in town last time and dropped out to run last after sitting wide. Aside from last start he only unplaced runs have come in Highways and that's the concern given this is much stronger than a Highway.
13. Prophet's Pride (Matthew Kelley, Canberra): Found some consistency this season with a first-up win and three placings from four runs to date. She was 11 weeks between runs when third over 1000m at Wagga under 60.5kg so will appreciate the sharp drop in the weights. She has to cope with going straight to 1400m but does like to race on speed so will get her chance. Have to wonder if it's the right set up though.
14. Kimberley Secrets (Nick Olive, Queanbeyan): Only raced five times for three wins so obviously has some talent. Stepped to 1200m for the first time at Gosford last month and certainly indicated a little further would be no issue with her strong closing third. May have won in a couple more bounds too. She'll need a bit of luck getting in and this is a big ask but fair to say we don't know how good she is yet so she stays under notice.
1 Testator Silens
5 I've Bean Tryin'
7 Eastern Glow