The tightest and most competitive battle, though, is likely to come in a BM 66 handicap over the flying 900m. Progressive three-year-old filly Deviate looks very hard to toss fourth-up for Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson. Since resuming with a big closing run in a class 3 highway at Randwick, Deviate has been close-up in her last couple at class 2 level, and with the advantage of the inside draw – where she can push up and park right behind the speed – the long home stretch at Scone should be tailor made.
But over this scamper, there will be no room for slip-ups in a smart field that includes consistent Wyong sprinter Perfect Style, who wasn’t far behind the smart Peak two runs back at Newcastle, lightly raced Tamworth gelding Whosyourhousemate, and Wyong four-year-old Nitride who are both resuming for smart fresh stables. Local-trained gelding Magic Town is well into his prep, and comes back from a lovely closing run at huge odds in a recent highway at Rosehill.
Earlier, popular local trainer Rod Northam will be out to go one better with his promising filly Mother’s Day at only her second start in a three-year-old maiden plate over 1100m. The daughter of former Golden Slipper winner Stratum was heavily backed on home-track debut, but couldn’t drag in the winner. With that experience, and reportedly some strong work in training, she looks ready to pounce today. But leading the party spoilers will be rival Scone filly and first-starter Know Where To Look, a smart trial winner in autumn and daughter of two-time Cox Plate champion So You Think.
Meanwhile, that class 1 battle looms as a three-horse showdown, and the winner may well ignite a path to a city campaign.
Talented three-year-old Scone gelding Spilt is having only his second run this prep, and fourth overall, and will show big second-up improvement after a modest return behind the smart Upper East Side, who has since won again in dominant fashion. Like he did in his first prep as a two-year-old, Spilt came on lengths after an average debut, charging home to just miss at Dubbo before a brilliant win in the feature Inglis Challenge on Scone Cup Day, running down highly rated Longbottom.
But plenty of eyes will be on rival four-year-old Ausfighter from the Cameron Crockett yard, who resumes off an impressive near eight-length trial win at Muswellbrook. Newcastle three-year-old Mahogany Bay also looks a real chance at his third run back.