Defending titleholder I Thought So will again to battle with Jungle Edge in the Winter Dash.
Peter and Paul Snowden will pin their Winter Dash hopes on reigning titleholder I Thought So after deciding to head to Brisbane with stablemate Brave Song.
Both sprinters were nominated for the Winter Dash (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday but only I Thought So was among the final acceptors with Brave Song heading to the Group Three W J Healy Stakes over the same distance at Eagle Farm.
Paul Snowden said the Sydney assignment was only ever a back-up option for Brave Song, who will chase a consolation Brisbane winter carnival victory after narrowly missing out on a Stradbroke Handicap start when he just failed to overhaul Pretty In Pink in the Moreton Cup at Doomben.
“He was there to win the Moreton Cup, which was exempt from ballot and would have got him in the Stradbroke and he probably would have gone around favourite in that,” Snowden said.
“He’ll go up there and be more than competitive on Saturday.”
The Snowdens are also hoping they have found the right target for I Thought So, who won the 2018 Winter Dash on a heavy track, conditions he is predicted to get again with Randwick in the heavy range on Wednesday and more rain forecast.
The five-year-old was having his first start in almost a year when eighth to in-form Godolphin sprinter Deprive in the Listed June Stakes after getting too far back in the run.
Snowden expects him to settle handier on Saturday and says the gelding will strip much fitter.
“It wasn’t ideal getting a bit further back than we would have liked the other day. It was hard to make up ground in the wet conditions,” Snowden said.
“He was coming off a long lay-off and he’s been a bit ring rusty, but the fitness is there now and he should run well.”
Wet track specialist Jungle Edge, whose 16 wins have all been on rain-affected surfaces, will back up from his Sandown victory last Saturday in a bid to turn the tables on I Thought So after finishing second in last year’s Winter Dash, while Joe Pride has confirmed Passage Of Time will also head into the race off a seven-day turnaround after scoring at Rosehill.
Three-year-old Sesar, who ploughed through heavy conditions to land the Group Two Roman Consul Stakes for former trainer Steven O’Dea in the spring, is scheduled to make his debut for the Hawkes stable in the Randwick sprint.
The colt has not raced since the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November when he finished seventh behind Sunlight.