SERGEANT BLAST - Brian Smith has taken over the training of Sergeant Blast and his first-up effort since arrival from New Zealand augured well for his future where after being fractious in the gates and slowly away, he ran on from well back for fifth behind some good horses like Sabkhat, Savwell and Divine Unicorn in a Class 6 at Doomben over a 1600m. Sergeant Blast will find this easier and whilst he has yet to be tried at 1710m his record over 1600m in NZ is excellent with a win in strong open company at Trentham at his last start before arrival. That form is good enough for this midweek Benchmark 90, the trainer has put the ear muffs on and whilst Boris Thornton will not be able to claim the full 3kg he probably rides Sergeant Blast in work, the horse knows him and he can get home over this trip.
SIR OWEN - You’d better be quick here, I expect this one to start an odds-on favourite on Wednesday. This is the thinnest two-year-old race I can remember this season and I expect this son of Fastnet Rock to make a winning start to his racing life. He’s bred to be good being a brother to Group I winner Comin’ Through and a half to multiple Group I winner Criterion as well as stakes winners Varenna Miss and Silently. Three trials under his belt to have him ready and in his latest trial he beat home last Saturday’s winner The Autumn Sun and looked to be going to the line every bit as easily. I think he’s a put in, take out job.
SPOOKY WOOKY - I thought this lightly-raced gelding found the line well last start in a race that should stack up well for this. He was having his fourth run back from a long 381-day spell when doing his best work over the final furlong, running a comparative last split to the race winner The Getaway and the blackbooker Araaja. Last Saturday’s McKell Cup runner-up Naval Warfare came out of that race while The Getaway also performed well in the McKell Cup, finishing fourth. Reads ok for a midweek 2200m race don’t you think, especially when the favourite is Mazaz and the second favourite is Solo Mission, which finished behind Spooky Wooky last time. Spooky Wooky will run the trip no problems and if the rain does arrive on Wednesday, that shouldn’t hinder his chances.
ROOI ROE - Rooi Roe was fractious at Toowoomba and never likely; she clearly wasn’t herself and Les Tilley was kind to her in the run to the line. The Bel Esprit mare has been given a six-week break and bar plates coming off indicate whatever hoof issues she had are resolved. Rooi Roe has a great record at Rockhampton with four wins from six starts and whilst Scott Sheargold rides her for the first time she will be hard to hold off over the 1050m.
MURDARESS - Formerly with Dwayne Smith in Northern NSW, Murdaress won a maiden at Kempsey early in her career but has found winning hard since despite placing four times in her past eight starts. Since resuming she has placed at both outings, her most recent effort being third at Lismore in a Benchmark 59 where she disappointed as favourite over 1400m. Murdaress has now been moved on to Zoe Horn and backs up for her third run in a month since resuming, a pattern similar to that followed last preparation during which she was able to run a good horse in Sawtell close. Murdaress’ first-up effort behind Wooditton and Exellas was good enough for this company, the blinkers go back on and with Ryan Wiggins to ride she should get a good run throughout.