The best of rest… so to speak, will contest Sunday’s Country Championships wildcard qualifier at Scone.
The $50,000 race over the 1400m journey is the last chance for Country Championships contenders to qualify for the $500,000 final at Royal Randwick on April 2.
Punters and racing fans will be spoilt for choice, with every runner seemingly a chance on their best form.
Edit has been the well-supported $3.50 favourite for trainer Cody Morgan and jockey Aaron Bullock.
The five-year-old ran a good fourth in The Kosciuszko to Art Cadeau last preparation, and the former New Zealander oozes class, although he does arrive here off a 141-day spell and was scratched from the North West Hunter qualifier due to the wet track.
Connections will have to contend with gate 16, and a potentially soft track, but the Swiss Ace gelding gets back and fly’s home and is every chance here.
Cody Morgan’s Tamworth stable also brings second favourite, Wren’s Day, to Scone, which was another scratching from the North West Hunter qualifier.
Wren’s Day, supported in from $5 to $4.40, is a lightly raced, but well performed eight-year-old, winning four times in 19 starts, but he also returns from a decent spell, with 331 days between runs when returning at Scone with Dylan Gibbons on his back.
The Lyle Chandler-trained Banju ran a very credible third at Tamworth earlier this month, beaten less than a length by winner, Anethole, and the second placed, Commando Hunt.
The Scone galloper won back-to-back Highway Handicaps before his third placing, and it would be no surprise to see him winning.
This five-year-old is lightly raced but there is hype around the Denman gelding, who was an impressive winner at Canberra last week.
Cavalier Charles boasts a big finish, but can also take them on up front, and comes from the in-form Matthew Dale stable.
From gate five, Nick Heywood has every chance to get the Canberra galloper into a nice position, and he looks to be a horse up to this class of racing.
The Dark Horses
It probably highlights the depth of this race seeing the Michelle Ritchie-trained Blue Missile at $16 after drifting from a $13 opening quote.
The five-year-old was made to work when leading up the field in the South East Qualifier at Nowra last month, and it took a good horse in Testator Silens to beat him, but the Nowra galloper was only beaten 0.3 of a length.
Jess Taylor takes the ride, and the draw makes it tougher for an easy lead, but if the Smart Missile gelding gets to the front, he will take some running down.
The Taree galloper had no luck in the Mid North Coast qualifier, beaten less than two lengths when finishing sixth behind stablemate Swamp Nation at Taree last month.
The Glen Milligan-trained Vicky’s One then won over the 1500m at Port Macquarie next time out, and the three-year-old has a lot of upside.
The absolute outside gate won’t help, but Grant Buckley takes the ride and Milligan has big raps on his galloper, who will be there at the finish if there is a decent pace in the race.
So Say You
The Terry Robinson-trained So Say You can improve in the Wildcard qualifier.
The 21-start veteran has won five times, including two TAB Highway wins and a midweek city win before finishing 10th to Testator Silens at Nowra in the South East qualifier.
Brock Ryan takes the ride, and gate 8 is okay in this race and on the five-year-old mare’s best form, she can feature in this race.
Readers wanting to check the full field can click here.