Impressive debutants add intrigue before Newcastle qualifier

And judging from raw style and early racing pattern, being drawn mainly outside horses also looks an added bonus.

But in a race that could well be dominated by three-year-olds, Randwick-trained and Kiwi-bred two-year-old Just Thinkin’ looms as one of the more fascinating runners and biggest threat on debut.

A son of dual Cox Plate winner So You Think out of NZ dam Nothin’ Leica Cat, Just Thinkin’ has also put plenty of potential black-type writing on the wall, with smart trial work, including a fast finishing win at Warwick Farm two weeks back. Bred to eventually get over more ground, he also looks a powerful closer who will enjoy the big long stretch from the 500m.

Of course, not long after three more provincial runners will book their place in the $500K final at Randwick on April 13 in the feature (Race 8) over 1200m, and with intermittent rain expected in the lead-up, those from off the speed finishing down the middle could be the ones to map.

Certainly, smart Newcastle filly Evalina, fresh off a dominant BM 64 metro win, can give top local trainer Kris Lees his first runner in the big one. She looks beautifully placed down on the limit 54kg, and already boasts strong soft track form up to Listed level in the spring.

The dangers will come thick and fast, but if there’s any advantage for those on the speed, tough Kembla colt Fortification could be the one to run down.

Already with All-In favourite Archedemus safely into the big one, trainer Gwenda Markwell will be plotting for Fortification, who rises in class but drops significantly in weight from an impressive CL2 win last start to join his stablemate.

In fact, this is the middle rung on a three-pronged Kembla qualifying bid, with her smart mare Mandylion, dropping back from the Group 1 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill, a leading hope to book her spot via Saturday’s home track qualifier.




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